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Beckley Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Do you know how to drive safely on the highway?

As a resident of West Virginia, there's a good chance you spend a lot of time driving on both highways and back roads.

Of course, there's a big difference between driving 70 miles per hour on a highway and 15 miles per hour on a back road. If you don't take a unique approach to each situation it's possible you could increase the likelihood of being part of an accident.

Construction companies can help cut down on accidents

For construction workers in West Virginia, workplace accidents and injuries can be all too common. However, the Associated Builders and Contractors argue that by taking measures to evaluate and improve safety, employers can make their job sites up to 670 percent safer than the average. Taking these steps can also reduce safety incidents by 85 percent. There is a variety of safety measures recommended by ABC, such as substance abuse counseling and treatment programs, thorough orientation and training and site-specific guidance.

In addition, ABC recommends establishing a safety committee on the job site and analyzing accidents that almost took place. The purpose of these activities is to help prevent workplace injuries and accidents on a construction site. The group notes that in order for such programs to be successful, they must involve the entire company from executives to workers on the ground. ABC also stated that executive involvement at the highest levels of the company is accompanied by a 70 percent reduction in reportable incidents.

Grain industry and OSHA partner to improve worker safety

Wheat, corn, barley and oats served in West Virginia must go through processing and transport to reach consumers. The large facilities that store and process grain present significant risks to workers, and industry leaders are working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promote safety. A primary risk to workers involves grain engulfment, which buries people in fast moving grain and quickly suffocates them.

A collaboration of the National Grain and Feed Association, the American Feed Industry Association and the Grain Elevator and Processing Society with federal and regional regulators has created a consistent safety message for employers to communicate to their workers. To prevent engulfment injuries and death, OSHA regulations bar workers from entering grain bins when any equipment is running. Workers must not walk on grain piles to get them flowing. When a bin must be entered, workers must wear body harnesses with lifelines so that they can be rescued if grain collapses and buries them.

Radiologists suffer back and neck pain on the job

While many people in West Virginia associate workplace injuries only with the heavy physical labor in industries like construction and mining, people working in any type of job can sustain illnesses and injuries linked to their workplace. For example, up to one-third of all radiologists working in the United States have reported that workplace injuries have caused back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. Radiologists surveyed by the American College of Radiology indicated a number of common medical problems resulting from conditions on the job.

The proliferation of these workplace injuries could be linked to changes in the way that radiologists practice their work. Decades ago, radiologists mainly studied the images they produce on film and often were in direct contact with patients. But for the past 30 years, computerization has meant that radiologists now spend most of their days behind their desks, using computer software to scrutinize and archive images and produce reports. While digital technology has meant many advances in radiology, from digital archiving to greater possibilities to analyze results, it also has meant that radiologists more frequently have the kind of injuries often linked to intense computer use.

Cardiovascular disease and noisy workplaces

West Virginia employees whose workplaces are noisy have an increased risk of developing heart disease. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a noisy workplace is linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, two of the primary risk factors for heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the foremost cause of death in the country. Loud noises are considered one of the leading workplace health hazards. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that approximately 41 million workers, have been exposed to an extremely loud workplace.

Study illustrates the dangers of trucking accidents

Although many truck drivers in West Virginia work hard to operate their vehicles properly, the trucking industry overall appears to have a safety problem. Over the past decade, there has been a 20 percent increase in truck accidents. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study investigated the reasons behind these wrecks and determined that truck driver errors are the cause of many accidents.

Researchers looked at data from 120,000 fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles over a 33-month period. They classified driver problems into the categories of decision, recognition, nonperformance and performance. Decision errors included tailgating, speeding and failing to adjust speed to account for road conditions. Recognition represented failures to see situations that required drivers to take action. Distractions inside and outside of the cab and outright inattention caused recognition problems.

Drunk driving deaths

Drivers in West Virginia should be aware that nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths are the result of drunk driving. People who are under the age of 24 are at the most risk of being killed as are motorcyclists and individuals who have been previously convicted of driving under the influence.

Victims of drunk drivers can sustain any number of different types of injuries that can result in death. They can include severe cuts that cause a massive loss of blood and significant head trauma.

Always seek immediate medical care after a car accident

A car accident can occur at any time, often causing serious damage to the vehicles involved and producing severe or life threatening injuries in the victims. However, many victims of car accidents leave the scene believing that they got lucky and did not suffer any injuries, when, in fact, they are suffering from an injury that does not yet cause pain.

Delayed pain injuries may occur in many parts of the body, causing long-term pain or disability if left undiagnosed and untreated, or may even prove fatal to a victim. Unfortunately, many victims do not seek medical attention soon enough to avoid or mediate these effects, because they don't think they suffered any injury at all.

Silica rules aim to reduce occupational hazards

For workers in West Virginia who are employed in jobs where silica exposure is a possibility, it's important to take special safety precautions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued rules for silica exposure as well as a fact sheet that seeks to guide employers into compliance with these standards. OSHA has put in place a mandate for employers to provide protection against silica exposure by offering training, establishing plans to deal with exposure and thoroughly assessing the potential for exposure.

The rule lowers the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, measured through an eight-hour workday. A known carcinogen, crystalline silica is found in a number of products, including sand, stone and artificial stone. Exposure to silica, particularly the inhalation of small particles of silica dust, can cause silicosis. This chronic disorder causes scarring in the lungs and places severe limits on breathing and respiration. The disease begins when workers inhale tiny particles of silica dust on the job. When these particles enter the lungs, they trigger an immune response that eventually leads to severe lung injuries due to occupational disease.

Truck driver errors top cause of commercial truck accidents

Semi-trucks are a common sight on the highways of West Virginia, and their bulk makes them dangerous in crashes. Over the past decade, truck accidents have increased in frequency by 20 percent. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study produced by federal transportation agencies examined 120,000 fatal commercial truck accidents and concluded that drivers caused 68,000 of the wrecks.

Mistakes like tailgating other vehicles, speeding or driving too fast for conditions accounted for 38 percent or 30,000 crashes during the 33-month span of the study. Distractions inside or outside of the truck cab along with inattention resulted in 22,000 of the deadly accidents or 28 percent of the total.

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