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Gastonia Injury Law Blog

Teen drivers more likely to crash once they are licensed

North Carolina residents should know that according to the National Institutes for Health, car crashes are the leading cause of death for drivers aged 14 to 19. Some states believe that to reduce the crash risk for teens, they must lengthen the period between teens getting their learner's permits and driver's licenses. The results of a study that the NIH conducted with Virginia Tech University seem to back up this way of thinking.

The study involved 90 teen and 131 parent participants. Researchers analyzed driver behavior from the time the teens obtained their permits to the point when they had been driving with a license for one year. They used dashcams to observe the driver and road, and software recorded speed and braking, among other data.

Machine safety for workers and employers

Working around machinery involves certain risks. The improper use, maintenance or protection of machinery can lead to serious and sometimes fatal workplace injuries. This is why workers and employers in North Carolina will want to consider these five safety tips.

It all begins with a hazard assessment, where employers note those elements in the workplace that could pose a safety risk. They must then ensure that their employees wear the right personal protective equipment. This can include helmets, eye and ear protection, respirators, gloves and steel-toe shoes.

Distracted driving and how new tech can prevent it

In North Carolina, distractions are becoming the norm for everyone from the driving public to commercial truckers. Distracted driving accidents often result in serious injuries to passengers and damage to vehicles because when drivers are inattentive to the road, they will not have any chance to avert a crash. Trucking companies face injury claims and delays on account of these types of accidents.

Technology may prove to be the solution to technology-related distractions. Data analysis, for example, is helping to point out risks to drivers. The fleet management systems provider Omnitracs has a module for its Driving Center web-based tool that can identify signs of fatigue and distraction to drivers, and the data analytics firm Zendrive is able to point out at-risk drivers to fleet owners and insurers using only smartphone data.

North Carolina law for construction worker injuries

Construction sites provoke a much higher number of injuries to workers than other industries. Construction workers face a high number of hazards in their work that make them especially susceptible to serious injury.

As a construction worker, you may want to know which types of injuries are eligible for workers' compensation under North Carolina law. Rather than singling out the specific types of injuries, it is more useful to understand how workers' compensation functions in the state and how you should proceed if you suffer an injury on the job.

Asbestos remains massive source of worker disease and death

Although asbestos, a mineral that strengthens building materials and makes them heat resistant, has long been recognized as a threat to workers' health in North Carolina and nationwide, a new study indicated that its dangers have been underestimated. The report from the International Commission of Occupational Health more than doubled the number of deaths previously attributed to asbestos exposure. The new estimates placed the number of asbestos-related deaths in the United States for 2016 at 39,275 people.

The president of the ICOH explained that previous estimates from both government and nongovernment agencies failed to take into account diseases other than mesothelioma. Although mesothelioma is widely known to arise from asbestos exposure, the mineral actually contributes to six times as many lung cancers. In addition to lung cancer, researchers have also linked asbestos to ovarian and laryngeal cancers and asbestosis.

Time ranks the 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

Time Magazine has recently come up with a list of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, so residents of North Carolina may be interested. Despite training, the use of high-tech equipment and other efforts to keep their workplace safe, companies still see an alarming number of injuries and fatalities.

Logging workers top the list, with a fatal work injury rate of 135.9 (per 100,000 full-time or equivalent workers). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries that there were 91 logging worker deaths that year. Fishers and fishing workers were second, followed by aircraft pilots and flight engineers. Roofers came up fourth.

Record temps raise risk of worker heat stroke

The summer of 2018 has been a scorcher, with North Carolina experiencing temperatures in the high 90s. Working outdoors in such conditions can be very dangerous. In fact, a new study says that workers can suffer fatal heat stroke when the outside temperature is only in the high 80s.

The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, investigated 25 cases of heat stroke involving outdoor workers. Fourteen of the cases resulted in death. Of the fatal cases, six occurred when the heat index was less than 91 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat index combines the day's temperature and humidity to estimate the way it will make the human body feel.

Staying safe in hot work environments

Summers in North Carolina can get hot, which is a particular problem for people who have to work outdoors or in hot indoor environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of how heat affects the human body and how employers can protect workers from the negative effects of working in extreme heat.

Some of the most recent information for employers about the effects of heat stress on the body comes from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Additionally, NIOSH has updated information on monitoring workers for signs of heat stress as well as how protective clothing and equipment can help.

CVSA to hold brake inspection event

Drivers of commercial trucks in North Carolina and the rest of the country should be aware of the Brake Safety Week to be held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. During the week-long event, which begins on September 16, truck inspectors will be increasing their enforcement efforts.

According to the CVSA, the majority of the inspections that will take place during the event will be Level I inspections, under which the vehicles will undergo the most thorough examination that the agency provides. However, the focus of the event this year will be the brake system and its components. Inspectors will be examining the brake system for hydraulic fluid or air leaks, measurements of pushrod travel, incorrectly sized air chambers across axles and any missing or loose parts. They will also focus on verifying whether the mandatory brake systems warning devices are present and working and the condition of the brake rotors, pads, linings and drums. Any vehicles that are determined to have ill-adjusted or defective brakes will be marked as out of service.

Construction workers, falls and TBIs

If you work construction in North Carolina, you likely do much of your work high off the ground such as while on roofs, scaffolding or tall ladders. Even though you use the safety equipment your employer provides and take the best precautions you can, you nevertheless stand a good chance of falling and injuring yourself, perhaps catastrophically so.

One of the most devastating injuries you could receive as the result of a fall is a traumatic brain injury. This is an injury to your head and/or neck of such severity that your brain malfunctions due to the injury. The force of the impact of your head hitting the ground or other hard surface causes your brain to violently swing back and forth inside your skull. This, in turn, injures your brain's cells, tissues and nerves, and some of them can stop functioning in the way they should.