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Beckley Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Avoiding traffic accidents by eliminating human error

Motor vehicle accidents in West Virginia and around the country claim tens of thousands of lives each year, but there are steps that motorists can take to reduce their chances of crashing and becoming one of these grim statistics. Government figures reveal that the vast majority of collisions are cause at least in part by human error, so remaining vigilant, obeying traffic laws and never getting behind the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol can lower accident risks substantially.

A car traveling at 55 mph covers a distance of 400 feet in just five seconds. This is why drivers who take their eyes off the road ahead even for a moment are taking a terrible risk, and it is also the reason why distracted driving accidents are often fatal. Cellphones are frequently portrayed as the leading cause of driver distraction, but looking at navigation screens, switching radio stations, lighting a cigarette or turning to speak with a passenger can be just as deadly. Motorists who wish to avoid collisions should pull over before doing any of these things.

Important rules for safely working with hazardous materials

West Virginia businesses that deal with hazardous materials will want to incorporate a few basic rules in their safety plans. The first rule is that employees (assuming that they are adequately trained) should follow all established practices when carrying out their duties. At the same time, workers should be cautious and think ahead to any potential hazards.

The third rule is that employers should provide personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators. When a worker handles hazardous materials, they should not eat or drink, nor should they touch their face or eyes with contaminated hands. To prevent contamination, they should wash with soap and water afterward and clean all work surfaces at least once during their shift.

7 shocking facts about distracted driving

Drivers make plenty of errors on the road. It's impossible to count how many times you have seen people tailgate other cars, run red lights, break the speed limit or not use their turn signals properly. All of these oversights happen continually, and they can all lead to car accidents.

To stop it, rather than focusing on the specific violations themselves -- like running a red light -- it is sometimes better to focus on why these violations occur. What caused someone to run that red light? Why did that car drift into oncoming traffic? Putting an end to this root cause may make the roads safer.

Preventing workplace injuries when using machinery

Machinery is designed to make it easier for workers in West Virginia to complete various tasks with maximum efficiency. However, machinery that is misused or not properly maintained can contribute to workplace injuries and fatalities. While many people associate machine-related accidents with heavy industrial equipment, the fact is that any type of machinery that is not used properly or not maintained as intended, including smaller or portable equipment used on the job, can present certain dangers.

Several steps can be taken by employers and workers to reduce work injury risks. For instance, guarding barriers are designed to provide protection from rotating parts, sparks, and debris produced by operations. It can also be helpful for companies to conduct regular inspections to make sure all employees are wearing and using required protective or safety gear. Common sense practices such as staying away from machine parts that are operating or moving could also improve workplace safety.

Data analysis and new tech may help reduce distracted driving

Most residents of West Virginia know the dangers of distracted driving. Accidents caused by distracted drivers are among the most serious, both in terms of injuries and vehicle damage, because the negligent driver is not attentive enough to slow down or avert the crash. These crashes cost trucking companies money in settlements and delays, too. Distracted driving is more prevalent than some think: for example, the data analytics firm Zendrive estimates that 69 million Americans use their phones every day behind the wheel.

Data analysis is helping to predict at-risk situations for drivers and help in preventing accidents. Omnitracs, for example, has a web-based Driving Center tool with a new module that can detect signs of fatigue and inattention. This module exclusively uses the trucker's hours-of-service data. Zendrive uses smartphone data to identify risky drivers for fleet owners and insurers.

Study reveals high number of asbestos-related deaths

It has been estimated that asbestos exposure leads to anywhere from 105,000 to 110,000 deaths worldwide every year. However, the International Commission of Occupational Health has examined some of the latest data available and come to a different conclusion. West Virginia residents may be aware that the U.S. has no general ban on asbestos, so they will want to know what the results are.

ICOH estimates that 222,321 people throughout the world died in 2016 from asbestos-related occupational diseases. Of those, 39,275 were in America. Part of the reason why previous estimates were so low is that countries underreport their cancer figures. Though asbestos is most commonly associated with mesothelioma, it actually leads to six times as many cases of lung cancer.

Statistics show larger cars are safer than smaller ones

While there are more accidents on West Virginia roads and others throughout the country, it isn't necessarily because cars lack safety features. Many cars and trucks have up to 10 airbags as well as other tools that are designed to prevent an accident from happening at all. Although vehicles are required to meet certain federal standards, some vehicles are safer than others when looking at crash statistics.

According to Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) data from vehicles of model years 2014 to 2016, those in smaller and lighter cars had higher rates of medical claims. This is because bigger cars tend to offer better protection based simply on the laws of nature. The industry average HLDI claim frequency grade was 100, and micro cars had the highest relative claim score with 215. Very large pickup trucks had a score of 45 while large SUVs had a score of 55.

Pineville Municipal Water Company and dangerous contamination

Water from your tap probably seems like the safest thing in the world to drink. For most people, that may be the case. Water receives chemical treatment and physical filtration before traveling to individual properties. However, people who lives in the Pineville area of West Virginia may find that their water is not as safe as they might believe.

The process of filtering, testing and safely delivering drinking water is a complex one that requires many professionals to complete. Many companies employ scientists and other professionals to ensure that they provide safe water to the nearby community. Unfortunately, sometimes local officials just don't put the importance that they should on clean drinking water. When that happens, corners can end up cut, and residents could get sickened by contaminated drinking water.

Heat stroke can be deadly in the workplace

Outdoor workers in West Virginia should be aware that they can suffer from a deadly heat stroke even if the temperature is only in the upper 80s. Because it takes time to adapt to extremely high temperatures, the heat waves that occur in the early part of the summer can be particularly deadly. This is according to research that was conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Out of the 14 cases of fatal heat stroke that were examined in an OSHA study, six of the cases took place when the Heat Index measured less than 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat Index is a measurement of humidity and heat that estimates how the combination of the two elements is experienced by the human body. When a Heat Index is provided, it is assumed that the individual is in a shaded area and is wearing one layer of light clothes.

As new tech is developed, distracted driving may only get worse

Many West Virginia motorists have a variety of infotainment systems available to them in their vehicles. However, a study from the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety notes that these systems can make driving extremely dangerous.

In 2017, it was estimated by the U.S. Department of Transportation that more than 37,000 people were killed in car accidents. Although this was a slight 0.8 percent decline from the 2016 estimates, it is still a 10 percent increase since 2014. While researchers have not linked the increase to either distracted driving or the introduction of smartphones, these are considered to be factors.

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