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Gastonia Injury Law Blog

Overloaded trucks create safety hazards for all motorists

Did you know that overloaded trucks have become a major cause of truck-related accidents?

And a major cause of concern for motorists is that an overloaded truck is hard to spot—but it could be the one that suddenly rolls over up ahead or, worse yet, jackknifes into your SUV.

The risks of carbon monoxide on workers

Workers in North Carolina and throughout the country could face serious harm if exposed to carbon monoxide. On Feb. 12, OSHA sent out a notice to employers reminding them of their duties to keep employees safe from the gas. Carbon monoxide can be most dangerous to workers when they are in poorly ventilated spaces or buildings. The gas itself is odorless and colorless, which makes it almost impossible to be detected without the help of equipment.

OSHA says that employers should not use vehicles or other machines that burn fuel in areas that don't have adequate ventilation. Furthermore, carbon monoxide detectors should be used in areas where workers may be most likely to be at risk for exposure. Workers face an increased danger of carbon monoxide exposure in the winter months. This is because many workers are in confined spaces or areas sealed off to protect against wind or cold temperatures.

Eye protection in the workplace: the basics

Of all work-related injuries in North Carolina and across the U.S., 10 to 20 percent result in temporary or permanent vision loss. Approximately 2,000 people incur eye injuries on the job every day, according to PreventBlindness.org, and 1 in 10 of these result in days off from work. This is why eye protection is essential in the workplace.

Experts stress that eyewear for workers must be durable, be comfortable and fit properly. There should be no "one size fits all" mentality. Accurate fit testing will naturally have to consider facial features, eyesight and personal preferences. Employers may also need to take style and color into account, especially for younger workers, because these can affect how the workers look and feel.

Safety tips can help prevent truck driver injuries

Truck drivers in North Carolina could be at serious risk for shoulder injuries on the job. When truck drivers raise or lower trailers to load or unload goods, they could injure their shoulders by cranking the truck's landing gear. However, one study conducted by North Carolina State University and the Washington Department of Labor and Industry notes that drivers can help to protect themselves by strategically positioning their bodies when cranking the gears.

The researchers observed drivers as they cranked the gears for loading or unloading the truck. There are 16 muscles involved in the process that can affect shoulder use and movement. The researchers measured the drivers' range of motion and the activity of their muscles during the process. According to the study, standing parallel to a trailer while raising it can be safer for truckers. This allows the process to use more of the strength of the full body, relying less on the shoulder. Raising a trailer involves greater resistance and strain on the body, potentially leading to workplace injuries.

OSHA eliminates requirement to report worker injuries

Large employers in North Carolina will no longer have to file individual incident reports for workplace accidents and injuries, according to a new action by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA announced on Jan. 24 that it was eliminating a rule created by the Obama administration for companies employing more than 250 people that mandated the filing of two electronic forms if workers were injured, made ill or killed in the workplace. Form 300 and Form 301 identified the injured workers, the type of injury involved and the effects of the injury, including missed work days or altered job duties.

The new rule implemented by OSHA has done away with the requirement to complete these forms. Instead, each employer of any size will only need to file one form, a summary of work-related illnesses and injuries that reports annual statistics of illnesses, injuries and deaths. The agency argued that the rule change aimed to protect workers' privacy since the forms could be vulnerable to disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act. However, others cast doubt upon the agency's stated motivation, noting that it comes along with other Trump administration moves to reduce regulations on corporations and minimize protections for workers.

Daydreaming while driving

Driving in North Carolina can be a source of relaxation and heading down the road with nothing but music and great scenery to keep the driver company. The flip side of that coin is that car crashes can be devastating, injuring drivers and possibly mortally wounding them. Therefore, it is worth looking into some of the main reasons behind car collisions as well as how best to avoid them.

Of all the reasons behind car crashes, studies found that one of the biggest issues is being distracted from the road. It is estimated that almost 10 percent of all car crashes can be attributed to losing focus and being inattentive. What's more, almost two-thirds of distracted drivers in a study were individuals who were just daydreaming while behind the wheel whereas drivers too immersed in their electronic devices to pay attention to the road formed a meager 14 percent of distracted drivers

How money contributes to workplace injuries

Business is all about the bottom line. No matter how giving the company or beneficial the product, the most important factor is profits to ensure the business continues.

This is a normal part of the industry, but some employers can take it too far. Research by university professors reveals just how much money influences the rate of injuries in the workplace, shares Harvard Business Review.

Sleep deprivation a danger among ridesharing drivers

Compelled by low wages and salary incentives, ridesharing drivers in North Carolina tend to work long hours and run the risk of sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, many dismiss the need for adequate sleep and continue to endanger themselves and others on the road. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine brought attention to the issue of drowsy rideshare drivers in a position statement made in April 2018. The academy called it a public safety risk.

The ridesharing industry has responded with some measures. For example, Uber requires that its drivers go offline for six straight hours after working a total of 12 hours. Lyft has the same regulation but after 14 hours. According to the AASM, these measures are inadequate because they don't prevent drivers from working when sleepiness peaks (that is, in the morning and at night) or from holding multiple jobs.

Five common construction safety hazards in North Carolina

The number of U.S. construction deaths reached 1,000 in 2016, according to OSHA. Even more tragic is the fact that over 60 percent of these deaths could have been prevented with the right training and equipment. The following are just five of the most common construction site accidents that could occur in North Carolina or anywhere else.

Falls are at the top of the list, consistently accounting for about one-third of construction deaths every year. Workers could fall from uneven or slippery surfaces, surfaces lacking the appropriate guards or ladders and scaffolding improperly set up. Employers need to remember the 6-foot rule: always provide employees with fall protection equipment when they work 6 feet above another surface.

Top OSHA violations of 2018 for the printing industry

Many diligent employers in North Carolina want to do what they can to create a safe, productive work environment for employees. Still, there are times when unsafe working conditions exist for one reason or another. Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration spotlights the most common violations in an effort to encourage employers to take appropriate safety measures. OSHA breaks its violations down into industry segments. Below are the common issues for the printing industry.

Exposure to chemical hazards is a common source of workers' compensation claims. This is why OSHA cites employers that don't have a written program in place to inform workers about such hazards or provide appropriate protective measures. Another common printing industry violation is a failure to protect employees from accidental machine startups by not having lockout equipment or machine-specific procedures. A related violation involves a failure to install or maintain physical guards to protect workers from moving machine parts.