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New York Legal issues Blog

Can employees prevent construction workers' accidents?

Every member of the workforce in New York faces injury risks regardless of their occupations. Much has been said about the number of construction workers' accidents that occur in this state, and safety authorities are continuously working on setting standards that will prevent injuries and deaths. However, construction workers can play an essential part in their own safety by taking some precautions.

Training is the place to start with preventing occupational injuries. Awareness of potential safety hazards, how to recognize them and how to deal with them are crucial requirements in the quest to stay safe. Always wearing the personal protective equipment that is appropriate for the job being done is another vital ingredient in self-preservation. That includes hard hats, eye and ear protection, face shields when necessary, safety gloves and steel-toed boots along with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Car accidents change lives of injured Good Samaritans

Two New York men are recuperating in the Erie County Hospital after they were both struck by a car several weeks ago. They were members of a crew working on the Kingston Expressway when they unexpectedly became involved in the aftermath of two car accidents. One of the crashes put them both in the hospital.

Reportedly, at around 2 a.m. on a Thursday, the workers had just completed the process of positioning the orange safety cones when a loud noise alerted them to a wrong-way driver who had crashed into another car. The two workers rushed to help get injured victims out of their vehicles, which had erupted into flames. Reportedly, one driver was a 28-year-old Buffalo attorney who did not survive the crash.

Crucial items for hard winds at a construction site

While New York experiences a number of construction projects year-round, you might start to notice a couple of sites slow down in October. The optimal season for construction is over, so many are rushing to get their projects done before winter brings in a whole new series of hazards.

Autumn is not without its obstacles in this profession. It may be nice no longer worrying as much about a heat stroke, but the winds are beginning to pick up and endanger many construction workers and their projects. Site leads should train each worker on wind safety and provide the necessary tools to help defend themselves from the larger gusts. If you see that the wind is going to be problematic on the weather forecast, you should grab the following items to safeguard yourself from the powerful breezes:

Compliance with regulations could prevent catastrophic injuries

Thousands of workers in New York and across the country suffer occupational injuries every day. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, most of the incidents are preventable. Sadly many workers suffer catastrophic injuries like amputations due to noncompliance by employers with safety regulations. If every employer would install and implement a lockout/tagout program, workers will not lose fingers, toes, hands, feet and limbs in workplace accidents.

Any moving part of a machine is an amputation hazard, including parts that rotate, reciprocate or go across moving parts. Points of machine operation such as where razors cut fabric, drill bits cut holes into metal sheets, and mechanical presses bend metal are all known amputation hazards. Other procedures that could cause catastrophic injuries include those on which machines transmit energy like conveyor belts, pulleys, flywheels, chains, connecting rods, cams and gears.

Trench-related construction workers' accidents are preventable

Excavations are present on almost every construction site in New York. By complying with federal and state safety regulations, trench-related construction workers' accidents can be prevented. Unfortunately, many employers would disregard employee safety to save time and money -- which are both requirements for ensuring trench safety. Typical excavation hazards include collapses and cave-ins, drowning in unexpected water accumulation, falls into trenches, strikes of utility lines, and hazardous atmospheres where poisonous gases collect in excavations.

Mitigation of all these hazards is possible by following the guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The process starts with analyzing the soil type, which will help to determine whether sloping, shoring or installing a trench box will be the suitable method to stabilize trench walls. Safe means to enter and exit the trench is essential. All equipment and activities must be kept away from the trench edges, and nothing must be suspended above the excavation.

Crash survivors speaks out on distracted driver car accidents

There are many types of distracted driving demonstrated by New York drivers and others around the nation. Whether it is texting, talking on a cellphone, changing a radio station or eating, these activities can take one's focus off the road and lead to car accidents. A survivor of an accident involving a distracted driver recently communicated the dangers of distractions to young drivers in Chautauqua County.

In 2008, an 18-year-old driver was talking on the speakerphone of a cellphone while stopped at a traffic light. Though the cross traffic had a green light to travel, the distracted driver made a left turn too early. A semitrailer had to swerve to avoid hitting the teen driver and thus crashed head-on into a car with a girl and her mother and father inside. The crash claimed the life of the girl's parents and left her paralyzed in one arm and leg.

New guidelines for brain injury treatment for children

As this year's National Football League season gets underway, some New York residents and fans around the country debate the issue of concussions and how the steps taken to prevent them affect the game. Of course, getting a concussion and subsequent brain injury is not limited to professional athletes. Players of any age may experience concussions and trauma to the brain can occur in a variety of ways. To prevent significant brain damage, a recent publication has highlighted new recommendations for diagnosing and managing mild brain injuries in children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines for pediatricians who deal with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) routinely with their patients. There was a rigorous process to create and evaluate these recommendations, which were published in a major pediatric medical journal. One major guideline was that CT scans, or computed tomography, should not be utilized on a routine basis to diagnose mTBI. Rather, those determined to be a lower risk for brain injury should be evaluated using clinical decision rules.

Construction workers' accidents: 2 dead following fall

High-rise buildings are common sites in New York and other metropolitan areas around the country. Construction crews for new facilities must work every day in potentially hazardous environments. While safety gear and equipment is provided on job sites, construction workers' accidents still may unfortunately occur from time to time. A recent incident in another state claimed the lives of two workers on the site where a hotel was being built.

According to reports, several employees were working near the seventh floor at a construction site for a new Marriott hotel. As they were pouring concrete, the scaffolding they were on collapsed. A 34-year-old man and a 46-year-old man were killed in the accident. Another man was injured in the fall, yet declined offers to transport him to a hospital. Evidently, one other man was on the scaffolding when it fell; however, he was not injured.

School bus safety reminders for the new school year

Kids in New York are back to school for the new year. Many children use the school bus system to get to and from their school each day. School buses are by far the safest mode of transportation for school-aged children, but accidents still happen due to improper driver conduct around school buses.

All drivers, passengers and pedestrians can do their part to decrease the risks of serious accidents during drop off and pick up times. School bus safety laws govern every vehicle and person on the road, so it’s important that everyone know what is and is not legal behaviors when travelling near these vehicles.

Many may not be aware a brain injury has occurred

College football season is gearing up to start soon on New York campuses and other locations around the nation. NFL preseason games are already underway, as well as youth programs involving children from kindergarten through high school. Despite all the protective gear and safety procedures used in football, it is still a contact sport and injuries are likely to occur, particularly concussions. Experts are concerned that a player may experience a brain injury and not be aware that it has happened.

Many athletes begin playing football or other contact sports at a young age. Often, in the past, the players were not educated on the symptoms of a concussion and what to look for if they receive a blow to the head. However, the dangers of multiple concussions are not being shared with programs at every level. More thorough testing and examinations are being conducted when players hurt their heads now.

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