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Gastonia Injury Law Blog

Kansas City Star urges change to prevent commercial truck crashes

North Carolina residents know that sharing the road with commercial trucks can be dangerous. They may not know that large truck crash fatalities have risen 28 percent from 2009 to 2016 and that some have responded to this trend by calling for specific changes to federal truck safety guidelines. This call is summed up by The Kansas City Star in an article that has even garnered the attention of several members of Congress.

The Star urges the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate the use of forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems on all heavy trucks. In saying this, it is following the lead of the National Transportation Safety Board, which has been recommending such a course of action since the late 1990s. The NTSB has criticized NHTSA for ignoring these recommendations.

OSHA's area offices to enforce trench and excavation safety

Between 2011 and 2016, OSHA recorded 130 fatalities during trenching and excavation operations. Nearly half of those deaths occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone. This has prompted OSHA to revise the National Emphasis Program regarding trenching and excavation so that safety standards for this field can be enforced better. North Carolina residents who work in construction will want to know what the revisions entail.

The revised NEP went into effect October 1, 2018. The first 90 days have been designated as a period of outreach, where OSHA's area and regional offices help employers with safety compliance. After that, the Compliance and Safety and Health Officers will conduct inspections of every open trench and excavation regardless of whether they violate standards or not.

Modern safety features could make drivers more dangerous

Advanced accident prevention features like automatic emergency braking systems, blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control could be making the roads of North Carolina and around the country more dangerous instead of safer according to a recent report from the American Automobile Association. The AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety came to this sobering conclusion after surveying 1,200 American drivers who purchased new cars equipped with such systems in 2016 and 2017.

The information collected by AAA researchers reveals that most drivers believe car accident avoidance systems work far better than they actually do and do not understand the technology's limitations. This overconfidence often prompts motorists to rely too much on safety features and not enough on their driving skills according to the report. The researchers say that their findings suggest that America may not yet be ready for a full rollout of semi-autonomous vehicles.

Using past data to protect workers

OSHA generally considers events that result in worker injuries or illnesses to be "incidents" as opposed to accidents. This is because many injuries or illnesses to North Carolina workers or others are predictable even if they aren't expected. Employers who keep good records of how workers were injured or got sick in the past may be able to use that information to keep them safe in the future.

Incidents that result in a worker getting hurt or sick are recorded on an OSHA 300 form. When an incident occurs, the employer will enter information such as where the accident happened, who was harmed and how that person was harmed. It will also indicate what equipment was being used, what task was being performed and how frequently a worker gets sick or injured. This information is kept on file for at least five years.

3 common accidents in industrial workplaces

Working in an industrial environment is challenging for a number of reasons. Whether you are employed at a warehouse, manufacturing plant or retail factory, you face a unique set of risks because of your environment. Like any other workplace, you are vulnerable to slipping and falling, muscle injuries and lacerations, but there are some additional injuries that are more common amongst industrial workers.

The following are three examples of accidents in industrial environments that can put workers at risk of injury. It is important to follow all safety procedures outlined for your workplace and exercise caution to prevent incidents such as these:

Preventing workplace accidents

Workplace safety should be a primary concern for every company in North Carolina. Being aware of the most typical kinds of workplace accidents and adhering to good safety policies can help with accident prevention.

Trips, slips and falls make up a third of all of the personal injuries that occur in the workplace. They are also a top cause for workers' compensation claims. Common slip-and-fall injures include cuts, lacerations, sprains, back injuries, head injuries, pulled muscles and broken bones.

Common causes of construction site accidents

Construction workers in North Carolina and around the country perform extremely dangerous tasks. Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reveals that the construction sector accounts for more than 20 percent of all private sector worker deaths despite employing only about 6 percent of the population. Deaths in the industry reached almost 1,000 in 2016 according to OSHA, and a great many of these workers died in accidents caused by five common construction site hazards.

Falls are the most common cause of construction site accidents and account for more than one in three worker deaths. Issuing workers with the proper safety equipment and meeting OSHA standards by ensuring that fall-protection equipment is in place can reduce the risks. Being struck by an object is the second most common cause of construction fatalities. Almost 10 percent of the construction workers killed in on-the-job accidents each year are struck by motor vehicles or other objects.

Reducing backup crashes with car safety tech

North Carolina residents who are on the market for new cars may want to consider the benefits of rear automatic braking. This is because a report has shown that this technology can reduce the chance of a backup crash by 62 percent. If the brakes are combined with rearview cameras and backup warning sensors, that same risk goes down by an estimated 78 percent.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested this same combination of safety tech. It gave superior ratings to the 2017 Subaru Outback and Cadillac XT5 SUV as well as advanced ratings to four other cars for their effectiveness in collision avoidance and vehicle speed reduction. One vehicle failed to engage the automatic brakes and collided with a dummy car parked at an angle, so there is room for improvement.

Safe driving tips for the fall

Summer is almost over. Some North Carolina schools have already begun classes, and, believe it or not, the holidays will soon be here. That means there will be extra traffic on the road and an increased risk of getting into a car accident. However, by brushing up on some basic driving tips, people can have a safe and enjoyable autumn.

Firstly, people should note that it's illegal to pass a stopped school bus on an undivided highway. All cars must come to a complete stop when a bus activates its red lights and lowers its stop sign. Drivers must also slow down when a school bus is flashing its yellow lights and always be on the lookup for children. They should also be sure to not engage in distracting activities and leave at least 10 feet between their vehicle and the bus at all times.

Understanding different types of spinal cord injuries

Millions of people sustain injuries in motor vehicle accidents every year. One of the most significant injuries a person can develop as a result is a spinal cord injury. This can lead to a number of effects on a person's life, including loss of movement, loss of sensation and exaggerated reflex reactions. 

Many people who end up in car accidents sustain minimal injuries. However, it is critical to remain aware of the worst-case scenarios to know what kind of medical treatment you may need should you ever find yourself in such a situation.