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Atlanta Injury Law Blog

OSHA guidelines on pinch points

Pinch points are a danger that many workers in Georgia, especially those in the agricultural, construction and maritime industries, are no doubt familiar with. These refer to the area between two moving parts of machinery, between a moving part and a stationary part and between a material and a part of the machine. If workers come into contact with pinch points, they risk an injury to one of their extremities.

In fact, one Ohio tool manufacturer faced a penalty of more than $213,000 back in 2018 when OSHA discovered that it had inadequate protection against pinch points. One of the manufacturer's employees lost part of a finger in a conveyor belt because of this failure.

Five hazards for construction workers in the summer

There are five safety hazards that Georgia construction workers and supervisors need to address each time summer rolls around. They are fatigue, heat-related illness (like heat rash and heat stroke), dehydration, prolonged sun exposure and the danger posed by cars in roadside construction zones. Many of these hazards can lead to death. Prolonged sun exposure is linked to skin cancer. And construction zones see nearly 100 worker fatalities a year.

This is why risk management is so crucial. To start off, employers should supply workers with hydrating fluids and have them take plenty of breaks in a shaded area. PPE should be appropriate for the weather. Workers should be encouraged to wear hats to protect the ears and the back of the neck. Canopies and umbrellas over a job site will also help.

July 4 sees more DUI fatalities than any other U.S. holiday

Drunk driving crashes are occurring all the time in Georgia, many of them fatal. The average summer day sees about 26 people in the U.S. die in DUI crashes. This number spikes about 60% on the Fourth of July. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there were 184 DUI fatalities during the Fourth of July weekend in 2017. A comparable span of four or five summer days resulted in fewer deaths: an average of 117.

The Fourth of July is dangerous not only when compared to the rest of summer but also when compared to all the major holidays celebrated in the U.S. NHTSA data reveals that 1,192 people died in DUI-related crashes on Independence Day from 2010 to 2017. The DUI fatality rate came to 42.4 per day. Memorial Day saw 1,105 fatalities in the same period and a fatality rate of 39.5. Out of six major holidays, Christmas saw the lowest rate (27.7).

Establishing a duty of care in slip-and-fall lawsuits

When personal injury lawsuits are filed over slip-and-fall accidents in Georgia and around the country, duty of care arguments are usually made by both the plaintiffs and the defendants. Plaintiffs may claim that premises owners did not meet their duty of care because they did not take all reasonable steps to prevent the accident in question from occurring. Defendants could respond by arguing that accident victims did not meet their duty of care because they failed to take reasonable steps to avoid obvious dangers. When these arguments are not very persuasive, slip-and-fall cases may be settled before court proceedings begin.

Proving that premises owners did not meet their duty of care generally involves establishing that they were aware of a dangerous condition and failed to take appropriate action. When premises owners were not aware of a hazardous condition, they may still be held liable for the injuries suffered by victims of slip-and-fall accidents. This argument could be made if premises owners were unaware of dangers because security cameras had not been repaired or they knew about severe winter weather conditions but not accumulations of ice.

Errors to avoid in a car accident claim

Even car accidents that seem simple may have complications that make the claims process much harder. Any accident involving injuries, such as this collision that took place on Highway 17, can still result in complicated insurance processes. 

After suffering an injury in an auto accident, you need to contact your insurance agency right away. You need to get the claims process underway immediately to try to recover damages as quickly as possible. During this time, you should watch out for various mistakes people make that upend the process entirely. One error could result in you not getting as much money as you deserve to recover properly. 

The summer driving season is particularly dangerous for teens

Emergency rooms in Georgia and around the country were fully staffed over Memorial Day weekend in preparation for what is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year. The start of the summer driving season is marked by a surge in motor vehicle accidents, and many of them involve young and inexperienced drivers. Accidents involving teen drivers claimed the lives of more than 3,500 road users between 2013 and 2017 according to the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety, and a disproportionate number of them died in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

During this period, fatalities in accidents involving teen drivers increase by about 15%, and nearly two in three of the victims are people other than the young person behind the wheel. The most common causes of these crashes are distraction, impairment, recklessness and inexperience.

Experts worry about new car safety feature risks

Car buyers in Georgia and around the country have a vast range of new vehicles to choose from, and many of them come equipped with sophisticated safety technology that warns drivers of impending dangers or even takes control in emergencies to avoid a crash. While road safety advocacy groups have welcomed these new safety features, technology experts predict that they could make some kinds of accidents more likely because drivers do not yet fully understand them or know how they work.

An article published recently in the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making by a NASA scientist and University of California San Diego professor draws parallels between current automobile safety innovations and the introduction of automatic pilot systems by the aviation industry in the 1930s. The article also points out that issues with technology are still causing problems for pilots today.

Study finds opioid use doubles fatal accident risks

According to figures from the Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control, doctors in the United States write more than 200 million opioid prescriptions every year, which equates to more than 66 prescriptions for every 100 Americans. This worries lawmakers and police departments because drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone affect drivers in similar ways to alcohol.

Much of the research into opioid use has focused on the societal costs of the widely available and highly addictive medications, but two researchers from Columbia University recently took a different approach. They wanted to find out if the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the country is having a detrimental effect on road safety, and they found that the number of drivers who die each year while under the influence of the drugs has risen from about 1% in the 1990s to an alarming 7%.

When must you file a Georgia workers’ compensation claim?

When you live in Georgia and suffer an injury on the job, you may have cause to file a workers’ compensation claim relating to your injury. Regardless of whether the injury you suffered was ultimately your fault or someone else’s, you should still be able to move forward with a workers’ compensation claim if the injury occurred while you were at work.

However, you must follow certain guidelines when filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state. One of the most important involves making sure you adhere to all established deadlines. There is, in fact, a statute of limitations in Georgia that dictates exactly how long you have to come forward with a workers’ compensation claim. If you blow that deadline, you will lose your chance at recourse.

Improving electrical safety in the workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a variety of policies to improve conditions for workers, but regulators realized not enough was being done in the area of electrical safety. A new framework, known as NFPA 70E, provides a new way for workers to ensure electrical safety at the places they work. Implementing this new framework honestly could improve safety in addition to increasing efficiency.

A major cause of electrical accidents at the work site is insufficient communication about what a job requires both in terms of procedures and objectives. NFPA 70E organizes information so that it's easier for workers to digest. By ensuring that workers are prepared for the job, they are less likely to make errors that cause accidents or require expensive repairs.

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Law Office of Perry Dean Ellis, P.C.
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