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Burlington Personal Injury Law Blog

Ride-sharing drivers can be sleep-deprived, says AASM

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine brought attention to a widespread issue in the ride-sharing industry back in April 2018, and its position statement on the matter should be of interest to New Jersey road users. Many ride-sharing drivers, compelled by salary incentives and low fares, are overworking themselves to the point that they become drowsy behind the wheel.

Drowsy driving is behind an average of 328,000 car crashes annually in the U.S. with 109,00 of them involving injuries and 6,400 ending in at least one fatality. This is according to estimates from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Sleepiness reaches its peak during the early mornings and late nights, precisely the times when many ride-sharing drivers work.

Icy parking lots can lead to customer falls

The winter months in New Jersey can be particularly icy and hazardous. The extreme weather cannot be prevented, however, premises owners in the state have the legal responsibility to maintain safety for visitors at all times.

If you have slipped or fallen on a premises in New Jersey due to snow or ice, you may be able to claim compensation. This is because the injury is likely to be costly in terms of medical bills and lost wages due to a lengthy recovery period.

Oil workers face many risks during good times

New Jersey residents who work in drilling face a variety of risks while on the job. In 2014, those in the drilling sector had a fatality rate five times higher than all other industries combined. From 2008 to 2017, there were 1,566 deaths in the drilling industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When times are good, companies may face pressure to maximize production, which could lead to less of a focus on worker safety.

Over the past decade, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued more than 10,800 violations to extraction companies. Of those, 64 percent were labeled as serious. Furthermore, during the period from 2008 to October 2018, the agency investigated 552 accidents that led to the death of at least one worker. In those accident cases, violators were assessed an average financial penalty of $16,813. However, fines are often reduced in exchange for swift action to get rid of a potential hazard.

Top OSHA violations in the printing industry

New Jersey workers in the printing industry have the right to a safe workplace. It is OSHA's job to oversee that employers are in compliance with relevant safety regulations. Each year, the agency creates a list of the top 10 most common violations. In the printing industry, hazard communication was the most common violation for the 2018 fiscal year. The fiscal year starts on Oct. 1 and ends on the final day of September.

The lack of machine guards was another common violation during fiscal year 2018. Guards are supposed to be installed to ensure that workers do not make contact with moving parts. Employees in the printing industry are also supposed to have access to dust or other respiratory masks. Employers were commonly cited for not having written plans for instances in which something other than a dust mask was used. Written plans should also be created relating to the use of other personal protective equipment.

These tips could prevent a dog attack

Dogs may be tempted to attack you for any number of reasons. They might be especially prone to attacking runners, joggers and bikers because they're moving, and they may inspire the dogs to go into "hunting mode." That being said, it's not a given that a dog will attack a running person. Furthermore, there should not be any dogs out roaming the streets free like this.

If a dog is loose and capable of attacking you, chances are that the owner is being negligent. Still, we can't make people be responsible like this if they don't want to, so we may need to take different precautions to prevent an attack if we discover a dog that's running free.

Safety steps to take in chemical plants

Chemical plant workers in New Jersey and throughout the country may face a variety of hazards on the job. Employers have a responsibility to do as much as they can to identify and mitigate these risks. For instance, having safety equipment is only worthwhile if that equipment is properly maintained. Failure to do so could result in a malfunction or other unexpected issue that could cause negative consequences for an employer and employee.

It is also critical to provide workers with an adequate amount of training. Ideally, workers will be trained on how to use equipment and what to do in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, they should be trained in how to safely load and unload items being used in the plant. By providing adequate training, employees will be less likely to take shortcuts or otherwise go against protocol and make mistakes.

Traffic accidents increase worldwide, according to WHO report

The 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety has revealed that traffic fatalities have increased and are now listed as the eighth leading cause of death worldwide. There were approximately 1.35 million traffic-related deaths in 2016, the most recent year that information is available. This new study has implications for drivers in New Jersey, where 624 people died in 2018 in traffic-related fatalities.

The World Health Organization (WHO), who released the study, has now put traffic-related deaths ahead of those caused by tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, traffic deaths are listed as the main cause of death of young adults and children between the ages of 5 and 29. A spokesperson for the organization has expressed concern that traffic safety and preventing traffic fatalities doesn't get as much attention as other causes of death.

External airbags and their projected role in side collisions

Side collisions can be some of the most dangerous auto accidents on New Jersey roads. However, the ZF Group is developing a new safety feature that could reduce the severity of vehicle occupant injuries in such crashes. The feature is a predictive system linked to external airbags on both sides of a vehicle.

These external airbags are meant to act as an added crumple zone that can absorb the shock of a crash. The technology is still in development, so there are still challenges in regard to sensing an impending crash and deploying the airbags at the right time. Another potential issue is an airbag deploying at an unnecessary time.

Retail employers can take steps to protect employees

Retail sales increase during the holidays, and many retailers bring on extra help to deal with the holiday rush. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put out a reminder to employers to pay attention to worker safety in New Jersey and all over the country. The acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA said that employers should focus on the responsibilities they have to protect their employees during the holiday season. Employees might find their workdays getting longer and their duties expanded as retailers attempt to make the most of holiday sales.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the reduced sleep and lessened family time that go with working extra hours might have a significant negative impact on the health of employees. Twenty-four percent of American workers said in 2016 that required work time consistently caused interference with family and personal duties. When workers are called upon to spend more hours working, they may pay less attention to working safely, as stress and fatigue can make them less attentive. This can increase the risk of injury from slips and falls or lifting heavy items.

IIHS studies the effectiveness of automatic braking systems

Many New Jersey motorists have unfortunately been in a rear-end collision. Such crashes can cause debilitating whiplash injuries even when they occur at low speeds, but a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that forward collision sensing technology and automatic braking systems can prevent them about 40 percent of the time.

The IIHS reached this conclusion after studying police car accident reports compiled between 2013 and 2015. The researchers looked for collisions involving cars, SUVs and crossovers manufactured by General Motors. Once these reports had been separated, the research team checked a list of serial numbers provided by GM to find out which vehicles were equipped with automatic braking and forward collision systems. The auto manufacturer began offering this technology on most of its models in 2013.

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