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Beckley Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Tesla workers reportedly passing out at the factory

West Virginia residents who have been following Tesla Motors as the company works to bring affordable all-electric vehicles to the market may be interested to learn that some of its factory employees have been passing out while working. According to reports, there have been more than 100 ambulance calls to the company's California factory since 2014.

Common ambulance calls were for fainting spells, seizures, dizziness and other symptoms associated with being consistently overworked. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the factory workers did put in long hours on hard jobs. However, he also said that he cared deeply for the workers' health and that the factory's safety record has significantly improved within the last year. The company also stated that its goal was to become the safest workplace within the auto industry. Employees were asked to raise safety concerns and make suggestions that could improve workplace safety.

The dangers of combustible dust in the workplace

For West Virginia employees who work in the manufacturing industry, combustible dust is a serious hazard that many do not take the necessary precautions for. Because combustible dust can be so hazardous and can result in severe incidents, there are certain things that both employees and employers should know.

First, employees and employers should note that, while usually only large combustible dust fires are the ones that make the news, combustible dust explosions are a common occurrence. According to the Combustible Dust Policy Institute, there were more than 500 combustible dust explosions in 2011 alone. More importantly, all combustible dust incidents are completely preventable, as dust only becomes an explosion and fire risk when it accumulates. Employers are also required to have the dust tested even if they have never experienced a fire or an explosion.

Why hire a lawyer to help with a car accident insurance claim?

Many people assume that as long as they have insurance or the other individual in their accident has insurance, then everything is fine. While it is true that it is preferable to have insurance in any accident, holding an insurance policy is not magic ticket that solves all of your problems.

Whether it is your own insurance or the other driver's insurance, these companies are just that — companies. As such, their primary concern is to remain profitable, and that is often at the expense of victims like yourself.

Motorcyclist fatalities increased in 2015

The number of motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers killed in accidents increased by 8.3 percent in 2015 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the federal agency's figures suggest that those who choose to travel on two wheels are 29 times more likely to die on the roads than passenger vehicle or truck occupants. NHTSA accident statistics also reveal that recklessness is a worryingly common factor in fatal motorcycle crashes in West Virginia and around the country.

Road users often assume that young and inexperienced motorcyclists are responsible when they see motorcycles being ridden recklessly, but the NHTSA data reveals that 54 percent of the motorcycle riders killed on the roads in 2015 were 40 years of age or older. A study into motorcycle accidents conducted by researchers at Brown University found that older riders were also more likely to suffer serious injuries after a collision or fall, and this was put down to their slower response times and the more powerful machines that they tend to ride.

Poultry workers are often severely injured on the job

West Virginia residents may be surprised to learn that serious job-related injuries are more common in the poultry processing sector than they are in the saw mill, steel and auto industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration keeps track of workplace accidents and injuries, and a report released in April by the National Employment Law Project using data reported to OSHA between January 2015 and September 2016 revealed that poultry processing was America's 12th most dangerous job.

The researchers behind the NELP study compiled a list of the employers with the most severe injury reports after studying data submitted to OSHA by 14,000 companies in the 29 states that follow federal OSHA. While the U.S. Postal Service and Walmart reported the most serious injuries, meat and poultry processing firms with far smaller work forces occupied the fourth, sixth and 14th places on the list.

Advancing automation raises concerns at safety meeting

With the continued development of highly automated commercial driver-assistance systems, issues that could potentially impact West Virginia motorists are on the table. At the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance workshop held on April 24, an industry official acknowledged that technological advancements could lead to enhanced road safety. However, she also implied that regulations are needed to ensure that the appropriate safety standards are in place.

During the listening session, participants touched on several issues related to the push to bring autonomous trucks to the marketplace. Information ranging from the design and development to the testing and deployment of highly automated commercial motor vehicles was presented to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration government panel. In relation to autonomous motor vehicle technology, industry stakeholders discussed the potential need for reform concerning hours of service. They also emphasized the continued need for the manned control of semi-trucks.

Technology takes aim at drivers using phones

The phones of West Virginia drivers who are involved in an accident may face additional scrutiny if states begin passing a law that allows law enforcement to detect whether the driver was using the phone at the time of the crash. While most states have laws that prohibit texting and other uses of the phone while driving, it is difficult to determine whether drivers were doing so at the time a crash occurred, and drivers might not be forthcoming about their habits.

A man in New York formed an advocacy group that has been pushing development of the device after his son was killed in an accident that involved a driver who was texting. The driver had told police he had fallen asleep at the wheel. The police were unable to look at the driver's phone because it would have involved getting a search warrant. Only after the father obtained a subpoena did he learn the truth. It is estimated that a significant number of traffic fatalities are because of phone distractions.

The dangers of granular absorbents in the workplace

Slips and falls are among the most common causes of workplace accidents and injuries in West Virginia and around the country, and OSHA has put standards into place that require employers to keep their facilities clean and respond to spills promptly. However, some of the materials used in workplaces to mop up spills could pose a threat to workers' health. Granular absorbent materials are commonly placed on liquid spills as either a temporary measure or a more permanent solution, but many of these products contain dangerous amounts of respirable silica.

Diatomaceous earth is one of the most popular granular absorbents because it is inexpensive and effective, but its fine particles are made up almost entirely of silica and can cause silicosis when inhaled. Silica exposure has also been linked to deadly and debilitating conditions including lung cancer, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. OSHA has introduced a final rule that places limits on silica exposure that the agency believes will save the lives of more than 600 American workers each year.

Hazards associated with confined spaces

West Virginia employees whose jobs require them to work in a confined space may face a heightened risk of injury or death. OSHA defines a confined space as a space that is large enough for a person to enter, is not intended for continuous occupancy and has a limited number of ways to enter or exit. Ducts, pipelines and sewers are common examples of confined spaces that workers may perform tasks in or around.

Confined spaces are inherently more dangerous because workers may have a hard time escaping hazardous conditions. They may also suffer from restricted air flow that could lead to a buildup of toxins in the air. When there is a lack of oxygen in the air, a worker could suffer from asphyxiation, and it is the most common cause of death for those working in confined spaces.

Injuries at West Virginia chemical plants

When people work at chemical plants, there are a variety of ways that they can be injured. Chemicals can be very dangerous. In addition to harm that someone can suffer by coming into direct contact with them, many chemicals emit harmful fumes. Additionally, there are dangers associated with using equipment or tripping and falling.

As a result, it's essential that employers understand the common causes of accidents that can lead to injuries. Two of them are complacency and human error. Direct human error can be due to people not being on the lookout for potential dangers and growing complacent when an injury has not occurred in a while. Additionally, when workers have not been properly trained, they may not know what to look out for or what safety protocols to follow.

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Stephen P. New, Attorney at Law
114 Main Street
Beckley, WV 25801

Phone: 304-250-3280
Toll Free: 888-692-8084
Fax: 304-250-6012

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