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Toms River, New Jersey, Personal Injury Blog

How to safely handle hazardous materials

New Jersey residents who work around hazardous materials can consider the following 11 safety rules. They are arranged in no particular order, but employers can apply them according to what their workplace is like and what hazards their employees face, adding any of their own. The first rule is that workers should perform all duties just as they have been trained to do. The second rule is to be cautious and think of what can go wrong.

Thirdly, everyone should have the appropriate personal protective equipment. Worn-out or damaged PPE should be replaced. The next two rules concern labels: It's important to label all materials correctly, putting them in the right containers, and consult the label and the material safety data sheet before using any materials. Materials must only be used for their intended purpose.

Six reasons to never visit the doctor in the afternoon

Workers in various industries experience a lull in the afternoon where drowsiness sets in and productivity declines. This afternoon slump affects doctors and nurses too, increasing the risk for medical mistakes and negligence. This is the first important reason why people should avoid, when possible, scheduling an afternoon visit with their doctor. New Jersey residents can read on to discover five other good reasons.

The second is that anesthesiologists make more mistakes in the afternoon. A Duke University study found that the risk for an anesthesiologist mistake is 1 percent at 9 a.m. but 4.2 percent at 4 p.m. The third reason is that shift changes take place then, typically at 3 p.m. This means that one's surgery, for example, could be completed by a different team than the one that began it. Miscommunication between the two teams can have serious consequences.

Diagnosis and treatment of a spinal cord injury

There are many ways you can suffer a spinal cord injury, with a motor vehicle accident among the most common.

A spinal cord injury requires immediate medical treatment, as you want to do everything possible to prevent long-term issues in regard to your health.

Family of duck boat victims files $100 million lawsuit

New Jersey readers may have heard about the horrific Missouri duck boat accident that claimed the lives of 17 people, including 9 members of a single family, in mid-July. Now, the estates of two members of that family have filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit in federal court.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on July 29, claims that duck boats are "death traps" that endanger passengers on both land and water. The suit alleges that the owners of Ride the Ducks Branson had been warned that the design of their boats was dangerous and that the vessels could take on water during harsh weather. It also contends that the owners of the company "repeatedly" compromised the safety of their customers in order to boost their profits.

Groups seek federal heat standard from OSHA

Workers employed in New Jersey might be interested in petitions filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration seeking standards for dealing with heat stress. Along with a report published by Public Citizen, petitions have been filed with OSHA by 130 groups in an effort to move the agency to establish excessive heat rules for U.S. workplaces. Any such rules would represent the first federal standard aimed at protecting outdoor and indoor workers from exposure to excessive heat in the workplace.

In its report, Public Citizen examines federal data and says that excessive heat on the job caused the deaths of 783 workers in the U.S. between 1992 and 2016. During that same period, according to Public Citizen, 69,374 workers were seriously injured as a result of heat stress.

Burned out doctors make mistakes, survey finds

New Jersey residents might be interested in a new national survey that indicates a problem that affects the health of all Americans. Most doctors are burned out, the survey says. The researchers say that this burnout could be a major contributing factor to medical malpractice.

The survey polled 6,700 physicians about workplace burnout, the symptoms of which include fatigue, depression and thoughts of suicide. The poll also asked doctors about medical errors and workplace safety.

Carpal tunnel and amputations common among meat plant workers

Any job in New Jersey could be the scene of a workplace accident, but beef and pork processing plants have a much higher likelihood of producing injured workers. Meat processing workers frequently experience chronic problems caused by repetitive motions, like carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries can lead to permanent disability. One plant worker reported that every co-worker he knew had been injured. He protested a proposal among regulators that would allow employers to increase the speeds of their production lines.

Another anonymous worker said that he feels a pinching pain when he stretches his hands after work. Debilitating musculoskeletal conditions associated with meat processing work arise from people making the same cutting motions with knives all day long.

Asbestos exposure from years ago can cause issues for your health

Manufacturing and industrial workers often face a number of hazards in the workplace. These can include moving machinery, the potential for falls and even electrocution. Due, in part, to increasingly strict government regulations, fewer workers these days worry about asbestos exposure. Employers are now required to protect their employees by adhering to strict safety practices.

Sadly, many people who work with their hands for a living may have experienced high levels of asbestos exposure before this known carcinogen was carefully regulated by the government. Jobs in manufacturing, vehicle repair and maintenance, and even construction may have resulted in high levels of asbestos exposure. Even if you didn't notice symptoms at the time of your exposure, it is still possible for you to develop serious conditions decades later.

Vehicle infotainment systems and smartphones distract drivers

Newer vehicles in New Jersey often contain infotainment systems that enable telephone calls, text messages, navigation and media consumption. These systems also tie into people's smartphones when they want to manage their media through their mobile devices. According to researchers, all of this technology adds up to substantial distractions for drivers. The results of one small research study indicate that the poorly designed systems built into vehicles might be more distracting than smartphones.

University researchers working for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied 64 drivers in five different vehicles. They observed them while they used vehicle infotainment systems or the smartphone applications Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. They concluded that the smartphone apps, although distracting, demanded less attention from drivers than the onboard systems. The navigation and media systems inside the vehicles consumed drivers' attention at even higher levels than the phones. These findings suggest that automakers need to make a better effort to design systems that limit driver distraction.

New research increases understanding of work-related heat risks

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn't officially have regulations about heat stress, it's still something that can affect workers in New Jersey. That's why the agency has been making an effort to spread the word about the risks of working in conditions with excessive heat. The goal is to encourage employers to implement proactive measures to improve safety and minimize health and safety risks.

One of the ways employers may be able to reduce worker's compensation issues related to heat-related injuries and illnesses is to brush up on research in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's 2016 update on heat stress causes and symptoms. It includes newer information on how climate change may be affecting worker risks, heat exposure hazards and evidence that redefines heat stroke and related symptoms.

Contact R.C. Shea & Associates, Counsellors At Law

Call our Toms River office at 732-505-1212, our Manchester office at 732-408-WILL (9455), our Brick office at 732-451-0800, or call us toll free at 800-556-SHEA (7432). You can also contact our firm online.

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R.C. Shea & Associates, Counsellors at Law
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