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Burlington Personal Injury Law Blog

The link between economics and workplace injuries

New Jersey workers might be safer when their employers are under less earning pressure according to a study that appeared in the Journal of Accounting and Economics. The study examined the relationship between pressure on managers to reach earnings expectations and safety in the workplace using injury data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the years 2002 to 2011. This injury data was then compared to earnings data.

The study found that a firm that is just reaching or going beyond analyst forecasts has an injury rate that is 5 to 15 percent higher than companies that either beat their forecasts by a comfortable margin or miss them. There are several ways in which this economic pressure can lead to a more unsafe workplace. One is that employee workloads may be increased, with pressure to work faster or longer, when a company is in danger of falling short of its goal. In a reaction to this pressure, workers may take shortcuts with safety protocols or might be so tired that they behave unsafely. Furthermore, managers might also skip safety-related tasks to save time or money.

Report highlights poultry processing injury rates

New Jersey residents may not know that workers in the poultry processing sector are more likely to suffer severe work-related injuries than workers at saw mills, automobile manufacturing plants and steel mills. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers an injury serious when an amputation, the loss of an eye or hospitalization are involved, and poultry processing workers suffer a disproportionately high number of them.

Researchers from the National Employment Law Project scrutinized OSHA accident reports gathered from employers in 29 states between 2015 and 2016, and they then ranked organizations based on how many severe injuries they had reported. The researchers noticed that poultry processing firms occupied the fourth and sixth places on the list despite having work forces a fraction of the size of organizations like Walmart and the U.S. Postal Service.

What to know about robot injuries

Robots serve several different functions for those who live or work in New Jersey. For instance, they may be used to chop vegetables, help with animal grooming or even provide assistance building other robots. In some cases, robots are used by hospitals to distribute medicine or provide general supervision to elderly patients in nursing homes. However, there are instances in which robots are responsible for injuring or killing people.

There are several ways in which a robot can kill or injure a person. For example, a part may fall off of a robot and land inside of a patient during surgery. If a robot were to spark, it could burn anyone that was in the area. Those who are repairing or maintaining robotic equipment may be injured when the machine starts unexpectedly. Workers in a robotic cell may face increased risks because most work cannot be down without the power on.

Following a fatal pedestrian crash, police efforts are crucial

If your loved one was killed by a motorist while he or she was out walking, you would no doubt be in a state of extreme shock and emotional turmoil. Dealing with an unexpected death of a loved one is probably the hardest thing that anyone will ever have to do. On top of that, so many questions will remain after the pedestrian crash, as to who was at fault and how the incident took place.

This is why police efforts immediately following a fatal crash are crucial. Collecting evidence, identifying the at-fault party and bringing that person to justice -- in addition to getting medical help for anyone who is injured -- should be the ultimate priorities of law enforcement.

Lead still a serious danger to workers

Although the health risks associated with lead have been well-known and documented, New Jersey workers in certain occupations are still at a high risk for lead exposure. They should be aware of the unique health hazards posed by lead and how to prevent and deal with the issue.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the risk of lead exposure on the job is especially severe for workers in the manufacturing and construction industries. Employers in risky fields are required to monitor the work environment for lead and take steps to prevent exposure higher than that allowed by the OSHA. Unfortunately, employers commonly fail to correctly monitor for lead exposure and prevent toxic levels from affecting workers. Workers are advised to take an active role in preventing lead exposure. They may request proper or more thorough monitoring, shower after a shift and avoid bringing work clothes or tools home.

Making chemical plants safe places to work

Chemicals may pose several safety hazards to New Jersey workers in industrial plants. Both chemical burns as well as inhalation of chemical fumes are common causes for injuries in chemical plants. Workers may also suffer injuries related to slipping or falling or overexerting themselves. However, there are ways that employers may reduce the odds that a worker suffers an injury that could be costly to the company.

For the most part, errors occur because of complacency and a lack of training. In some cases, a lack of training may lead to shortcuts that may compromise the safety of an employee. Failing to maintain equipment may lead to an injury when the machine malfunctions or when a worker gets hurt trying to fix it. Improper training is another common reason why workers get hurt while working in a chemical plant.

The importance of guardrails

New Jersey employers should ensure that they are following both International Code Council (ICC) and OSHA regulations for fall protection and guardrails. This may help them reduce the odds of a serious injury to someone visiting a premises or someone who may be working at heights. ICC and OSHA standards are implemented at both the state and federal level to provide uniform safety regulations inside of all new or remodeled buildings.

Guardrails are generally required in any building that has steps, accessible roof spaces or landings. They may also be required if a building has platforms or if there is more than 30 inches between two levels inside of it. OSHA requires that guardrails be used as part of a fall protection system if work is done more than 6 feet higher than the next lowest level.

Dog attacks against postal workers on the rise

Online shopping adds convenience to the lives of people in New Jersey and around the counry, but the U.S. Postal Service wants to remind everyone of the importance of restraining their dogs during deliveries. In 2016, there were 6,755 dog attacks on mail carriers, which represented a rise compared to 2015. During National Dog Bite Prevention Week that occurs every April, the Postal Service emphasizes precautions that people should take to reduce attacks on delivery personnel.

The organization's safety director encouraged people to put dogs in a separate room before opening their doors to accept packages. She said that dogs could view a mail carrier handing a package to a family member as threatening.

What should I do after a dog bite injury?

Most New Jersey residents can't imagine their dogs biting another person, but we must remember that dogs are animals and therefore unpredictable. In fact, nearly 5 million Americans suffer a dog bite injury each year and half of the victims are kids.

Maybe you're right and your dog might not be the type to attack another person, but that doesn't mean the animals owned by your family and friends are safe. Most bite victims were harmed by a dog they actually knew.

HNOCs and labeling in New Jersey workplaces

A revised Hazard Communication Standard means that some hazards still need to be identified since some are not covered by OSHA or GHS classes. The classification for these hazards is "Hazard Not Otherwise Classified".

An HNOC refers to a substance that is inherently hazardous and not to one that can be harmful under certain conditions. For example, a person could slip and fall if water is spilled on the floor. Cold water could cause hypothermia while hot water could scald a person. However, in normal usage or even in foreseeable emergency situations, water is not hazardous and thus would not be considered an HNOC.

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