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Burlington Personal Injury Law Blog

Daydreaming while driving can lead to crashes

When people get behind the wheel in Burlington County, they can encounter an array of dangers and distracted, negligent or dangerous drivers. All too frequently, these hazards can lead to damaging car accidents and long-term injuries. While a good deal of attention has been paid to the problem of phone use and texting while driving, non-technological distracted driving can also pose a threat to drivers and passengers on the roadways.

In a report by Erie Insurance assessing the causes of car accidents across the country, they noted that one-tenth of all fatalities in crashes were caused by distracted driving. While some of these cases involved people texting, using the internet or otherwise being distracted by their devices, 61 percent of these fatal car accidents involved at least one driver who said they were lost in thought or daydreaming. By not keeping their mind and their eyes on the road, these drivers helped to cause the crashes that took 172,000 lives over the past five years.

OSHA and grain industry sponsor engulfment prevention week

New Jersey workers who work around grain storage facilities are at risk for grain engulfment, or being buried in grain. While commercial grain operations must comply with federal safety rules, private farms are not required to obey rules set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Experts say that awareness and training are the keys to safety for workers, which is why the week of April 9 to 13 was designated Stand-Up for Grain Engulfment Awareness Week 2018.

The project is a collaboration between OSHA, the National Grain and Feed Association and other grain industry organizations. An OSHA administrator said that the industry needs to share a message of grain engulfment prevention.

OSHA says construction company responsible for boxer's death

On March 29, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that the death of an ex-boxer that occurred on a New Jersey construction site could have been prevented. The 60-year-old man died after he was struck by a piece of metal at AP Construction Inc.'s Camden Tower project site in 2017.

At the time of the work site accident, an employee was using a job hook to lift a piece of steel. However, the piece of equipment that was being used was not properly configured to handle the material that was being lifted. According to OSHA, the construction company was not following proper safety standards at the time of the man's death. For example, the company was reportedly using improper lifting devices and had failed to properly train employees on the potential hazards surrounding the lifting equipment. As a result, the company was given more than $151,000 in penalties, though it can appeal the OSHA finding.

Human influence could be making self-driving cars less safe

The manner in which self-driving vehicles are programmed to drive may be unsafe, according to one prominent computer science professor. This is due to the driving software mimicking poor human driver traits. This is of obvious concern given the possibility of driverless cars eventually coming to New Jersey.

Due to a fatal accident in Arizona caused by a self-driving car, some autonomous technology tests have halted. The incident in question involved a pedestrian crossing the street in the dark outside of a crosswalk. The self-driving car was unable to detect the presence of the pedestrian immediately given the low visibility. Once the car sensed the pedestrian in its path, it attempted to brake but was traveling too fast to stop in time. According to the professor, one solution is for automated vehicles to only travel at speeds that will allow them to stop within their range of vision. This would allow the vehicle to come to a halt as soon as something in the travel path comes into view.

Getting away: Defusing a dog attack

Everyone knows that coming across an angry pooch could to lead to injuries, but what do you do if it's too late to avoid an interaction with an angry dog?

Your best bet is to try to defuse the attack and get away to safety, so you can call for help and keep track of the dangerous animal.

OSHA works to improve construction safety

For many New Jersey construction workers, trench and excavation labor can pose a particular danger of workplace accidents or injuries. While the construction industry overall poses a significant risk of on-the-job injuries due to the use of heavy physical labor and machinery in uncompleted structures, collapses, cave-ins and falls can make the underground cuts and caverns in trenches and excavations particularly risk-prone. Trenches and excavations can be a major part of piping, roadwork, foundation building and other important efforts, so improving workplace safety is particularly critical.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified improvement in workplace safety in trenches and excavations as a priority goal for 2018. This comes after 2016 statistics indicated that fatalities that year doubled over the average that had remained steady over the previous five years. From 2011 through 2015, approximately two workers were killed each month due to collapses in trenches and excavations. In response, the agency is working to build awareness about preventative actions and technologies that can reduce the threat of fatalities and other serious injuries.

Some car crash injuries may appear days after accident

When New Jersey vehicle occupants become involved in a car accident, it may take some time before he or she feels the full effects of the crash. Even if the accident appeared to be minor at the time, some symptoms associated with the incident may not become apparent until several days later.

Common complications that can become apparent later on include headaches, neck or shoulder pain and back pain. While this pain could be caused by general swelling, it could also potentially mean that there is a serious medical problem. Likewise, loss of feeling and numbness could be a sign that a person has suffered an injury to his or her spinal column or neck. Swelling or pain in the abdomen could indicate internal bleeding, which can do undiagnosed for days. Like other car accident injuries, this could be life-threatening if a person does not seek treatment in time.

Clarifying OSHA regulations for anchor points

Working in high locations can be a dangerous for employees in New Jersey. In the construction industry, many workers rely on fall prevention systems to protect their lives in case of a workplace accident. These systems require strong anchor points. Because of the inherent dangers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has propagated a series of regulations designed to protect workers operating in high locations while using equipment to protect them from falls.

Many safety experts believe that the OSHA regulation for anchor points in a fall arrest system require that each point support at least 5,000 pounds per person attached. This limit is designed to ensure that an anchor point will not fail in case of a workplace accident. However, the relevant regulation is more open-ended; it requires support for either 5,000 pounds or twice the amount of force generated in a fall.

Watch out for loose dogs at the park and in the city this spring

As the weather warms up, it's only natural to go outside to have fun. You and your family may go for walks around the neighborhood or head to a park to burn off some energy and get some fresh air. Exercise and being outdoors are great for your health, but there's also risk involved.

Just like people, dogs get spring fever, too. Chances are good that the local sidewalks and parks will be full of canines, most of whom are looking to catch a stick or sniff some new smells. It only takes one angry, aggressive or poorly trained animal, however, to severely hurt and traumatize you or another member of your family. Even those who behave properly around dogs can wind up hurt. When that happens, you need to stand up for your rights.

Car accidents can cause painful soft tissue damage

Soft tissue injuries are among the most common sources of ongoing pain for New Jersey drivers who have been victims of a motor vehicle accident. Soft tissue damage, unlike hard tissue injuries, does not affect the bones or cartilage; instead, these types of injuries reflect damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons and other softer parts of the body. After a car crash, a number of symptoms can point to continuing soft tissue damage, such as strains, sprains, muscle tears, persistent soreness and other forms of muscle and tendon pain.

A car accident can often generate an immensely powerful impact that rapidly and suddenly jolts the people inside a vehicle that has been hit. This impact can force people's bodies to move suddenly in disparate directions, damaging the soft tissue and forcing it to stretch suddenly. Even protective instincts like entering a brace position or slamming on the brakes can lead to additional soft tissue damage as a result. Whiplash is one of the most common and best-known types of soft tissue damage that can result from a car accident; this type of neck injury occurs most frequently in people who were hit from behind. A rear-end crash can put serious pressure on the neck, leading to chronic pain.

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