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Gastonia Injury Law Blog

The danger of overloaded trucks

When traveling the roads of North Carolina, drivers may want to be on the lookout for trucks carrying heavy loads. Overloaded trucks can make it more difficult for the truck driver to control the vehicle; in fact, overloading is one of the leading causes of truck accidents.

Various state and federal regulations limit the weight of cargo that trucks can carry, but overloading still occurs. In addition, trucks are sometimes improperly loaded or cargo is improperly secured. Any of these situations can throw a truck off balance and increase the risk of rollover.

How wearable tech helps construction workers stay safe

Every year in North Carolina and the rest of the U.S., workplace injuries and illnesses cost businesses an average of $250 billion. In response, many companies are adopting wearable technology for their employees. This can both reduce safety risks and leverage a great deal of insurance benefits.

One example of wearable tech is sensor technology. Triax Technologies has developed a sensor that attaches to a tool belt and tracks the wearer's location. Safety personnel can keep track of the sensors through a network system. The system even sends automatic notifications and information whenever someone slips, trips or falls.

How to handle common traffic situations

North Carolina residents may avoid moving violations and accidents by understanding who has the right-of-way on the road. If a driver sees an ambulance or another emergency vehicle, that driver must pull his or her vehicle to the side of the road. Drivers must generally stop when a school bus is stopped or if children are being offloaded. One of the most common moving violations is running a red light, and drivers are required to stop when they see one.

In 2014, there were 709 deaths because of drivers running red lights according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers may be at risk of getting hurt or killed in such accidents. In some cases, four-way stops may not have a traffic light or other control signal. Typically, the driver who arrives first at the intersection is allowed to proceed first.

4 top causes of manufacturing injuries

If you work in the manufacturing and production industry, you face potential hazards in your work environment. An on-the-job accident is the last thing you want to think about, but you should be aware of the risks. You work with a lot of heavy machinery and hazardous materials that can cause injuries. 

The inherent nature of your job and any employer negligence can put you at risk of getting hurt. Here are some reasons you may get an injury as a manufacturing employee. 

Common causes of motor vehicle accidents

North Carolina motorists might be more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than in previous years with an 8 percent increase in the number of deadly motor vehicle accidents happening around the country between 2014 and 2015. There was another increase in 2016. One way to reduce the likelihood of an accident may be to better understand why they happen, and there are a few common causes.

Around 6 percent of pedestrian deaths occur in accidents involving a driver making a rolling stop. The problem is that the rolling stop creates too much multitasking for the driver. Falling asleep is another common cause of car accidents. Experts say people do a bad job of estimating how tired they are, and drowsy drivers are involved in 21 percent of deadly car accidents and 7 percent of all crashes.

NHTSA raises awareness of drunk driving during holidays

In North Carolina and across the U.S., drunk driving becomes an epidemic when Christmas and New Year's roll around. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is familiar with the results: the past five years have seen an average of 300 traffic fatalities due to drunk driving between the two holidays. In 2016, there were a total of 781 fatalities in alcohol-related accidents in the month of December. An NHTSA report also reveals that one-third of all drivers taken into custody for DUI are repeat offenders.

This is why every holiday season the NHTSA promotes its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. The agency is running nationwide TV ads warning about the dangers and consequences of DUI. It has also created a web program allowing users to enter a 360-degree virtual reality environment, where they interact with drivers, police officers, and paramedics at the scene of a drunk driving crash.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

December has officially been recognized as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. This issue is an initiative across North Carolina and the country as a whole. Each year, approximately one death per hour occurs on the nation's roadways due to impaired driving. Although this number is smaller than in years past, it still accounts for more than 10,000 highway deaths each year.

Sadly, alcohol-related traffic accidents and deaths affect many more people than those involved in the actual incidents. Families, friends and loved ones who lose someone in a traffic accident will go on to face many years of pain, sometimes unable to ever move on or overcome the struggle of loss. As a result, the proclamation of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is meant to call awareness to the victims of intoxicated driving as well as to bring concern to those who may consider driving while under the influence.

Outdoor workers exposed to cold-weather injuries

Throughout the winter months, workers in North Carolina and across the country who do their jobs primarily outdoors may be at risk for several injuries related to low temperatures. Experts suggests tips for employers that can help keep their employees safe.

Even with temperatures as high as 60 degrees F, workers may be at risk for trench foot, which is characterized by redness, tingling, numbness, cramps, and blisters, and chilblains, which are caused by skin capillaries being damaged. Workers may also be at risk of hypothermia, which occurs when body temperature drops lower than 95 degrees F, and frostbite, which involves skin and tissue becoming frozen and can lead to permanent damage. Cold temperatures can also cause angina, or cardiac chest pains, as the heart does not receive enough oxygenated blood.

How to prevent near-misses at work

According to the National Safety Council, a near-miss is an unplanned event that had the potential for causing an injury, illness, or damage, but did not do so. While it always a relief when no harm comes from a near-miss, North Carolina workers and employers are well-served by taking steps to prevent them. In fact, it may be a good idea to have a system in place in which employees can report near-misses. This may help an employer create ways to solve problems before they result in lost money or productive.

Managers and owners should encourage employees to report such incidents and take steps to follow up on these reports. Ideally, employees can stay anonymous when reporting a near miss, and there should be no retaliation against those who report problems. Making the process as easy as possible to make use of helps encourage workers to participate in the reporting system.

Maintaining worker safety in a changing job market

Many North Carolina workers have experienced the changes that have taken place in the job market over the past few years. Due to the rise of rideshare apps and other freelance-based businesses, an increasing number of individuals are joining the gig economy. The term "gig economy" is a catchall term used to describe getting paid by the job rather than through an hourly wage or yearly salary.

The internet is were many people are finding their gig jobs. Others have found freelance jobs in the transportation industry or working as bike couriers. For some, their gigs have morphed into full-time employment. For others, the gigs serve as a way to supplement what they earn at their primary jobs. Recently, more attention has been paid to the health and safety concerns that are unique to gig workers.