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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How to prevent trouble when driving in heavy winds

The spring season in New Jersey has the potential to bring rainstorms and heavy winds to the area. If you're caught in inclement weather while driving, it's critical to change your approach to the road as to enhance your safety.

One thing you should never forget is that there's nothing wrong with pulling over should you be uncomfortable driving in bad weather. Even if it means waiting a few hours, it's better to be safe than sorry.

How to get messages out quickly to employees

Employers in New Jersey and elsewhere must take reasonable steps to keep their workers safe. While many companies have safety protocols in place, they may not be enough to truly prevent someone from getting hurt. For instance, an organization may lack the ability to alert workers of an emergency situation in a timely manner. A lack of communication could be caused by the fact that a company has too many workers to effectively oversee at once.

In some cases, workers may not perform tasks in a central location or remain in one spot during their shifts. Ideally, companies will have multiple tools at their disposal to get a message out to every worker as quickly as possible. For example, companies could choose to send text messages, make phone calls and send email alerts if an emergency arises. By relying on multiple forms of communication, organizations can maximize the chances of reaching their people as quickly as possible.

Later school start time may contribute to teen driver safety

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has published a study that may be of interest to parents in New Jersey because it suggests that teens may be more likely to become distracted on the road the earlier that school begins. Researchers looked at the rate of car crashes involving teens during a two-year period in Fairfax County, Virginia. The county, in the fall of 2015, pushed back its school start times from 7:20 am to 8:10 am.

In the first year, the year preceding the change, researchers determined that 16- to 18-year-old licensed drivers were involved in 31.63 accidents per 1,000 drivers. In the year after that, the rate declined to 29.59 accidents. During that two-year period, the rest of the state, which did not change its school start times, saw only a steady rate of teen car crashes.

Know these nuances of workers' compensation in New Jersey

The laws governing workers' compensation in New Jersey are complex so many individuals who suffer an injury at work might struggle to determine whether they are covered in the event of an injury. Trying to sort through the applicable laws can often be difficult, especially when you're working through your treatment plan.

There are some points in the law that individuals might not realize exist. It behooves workers to know these points so they can utilize the information if necessary.

Study finds supervisors responsible for construction safety

Construction contractors in New Jersey and around the country largely depend on supervisors to deliver safety programs, according to a study by Dodge Data & Analytics. In fact, the report found that nearly three-quarters of construction companies rely on supervisors and foremen to present safety information to workers.

The study found that contractors named several factors that are essential parts of an effective workplace safety program. The top four factors depended heavily on the participation of supervisors and job site workers. These factors included job site worker involvement, cited by 84% of contractors, strong safety leadership from supervisors, cited by 83%, regular safety meetings with supervisors and workers, cited by 82%, and continuing safety training for both supervisors and workers, cited by 77%. Other factors included regular safety audits, cited by 67% of contractors, having dedicated staff safety positions, cited by 61%, and regular staff safety meetings among corporate level staff, cited by 62%.

NIOSH releases indoor environmental quality recommendations

Construction workers in New Jersey and around the country have very dangerous jobs, and some of the biggest threats they face are posed by toxic substances. Lead and asbestos were widely used on construction projects for decades because they offer excellent protection against corrosion and fire, and it is not uncommon for construction workers to encounter them when working on demolition, refurbishment or repair projects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides construction companies with standards for exposure to lead, asbestos and other toxic substances, but complying with these rules is not always easy.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is tasked by the federal government with conducting research into job-related dangers. To meet this responsibility, the agency conducts what are known as health hazard evaluations at construction sites where the presence of toxic substances has been reported. NIOSH then releases recommendations to help employers meet OSHA standards.

Red light crashes injure thousands each year

Car accidents caused by drivers running red lights take 800 lives in New Jersey and across the country each year while injuring thousands more people. In many cases, those harmed in these crashes are pedestrians, cyclists and the occupants of other vehicles who had no chance to anticipate a car speeding toward them through a red light. Because running red lights poses such a threat to highway safety, red light cameras have been adopted by many municipalities as a means to crack down on violators while increasing revenue from traffic tickets. The cameras are posted on the lights and take photos of the license plates of cars running through red signals; the drivers later receive tickets in the mail.

While red light cameras seem to have obvious benefits in cutting down on violations, some have criticized the systems. They say that cities install them only to increase revenue without caring about the effects on traffic safety. Some point to Chicago as an example where red light cameras linked to costly fines were installed throughout the city. However, the yellow light timing was also reduced to the lowest allowable by law. After the cameras were installed, rear-end car crashes became more common as drivers sped up to get through the yellow lights and avoid a ticket.

On-the-job deaths rose 2% from 2017 to 2018

People in New Jersey might complain that their jobs are killing them, but the statement is not a joke for too many workers. The latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a 2% increase in work-related fatalities between 2017 and 2018. In 2017, 5,147 died in situations involving their workplaces. By 2018, the number of work-related deaths had gone up to 5,250.

The most common source of work-related deaths arose from transportation incidents, which accounted for 40% of the fatalities. According to bureau data, increasing numbers of workers have been dying from accidental overdoses after using alcohol or drugs for nonmedical reasons. The death count from overdoses went up 12%, and this category of workplace fatalities has been rising for six straight years. Suicides attributed to work also rose by 11%.

Take these steps following a workplace accident

It doesn't matter if you work in an office setting, on a construction site or are in the field all day, it's critical that you take the necessary steps in protecting your safety.

Unfortunately, even if you're careful about avoiding trouble at work, there could come a point when you suffer an injury.

AASM on how drivers can avoid drowsiness

According to AAA, drowsy drivers cause some 328,000 car crashes every year in New Jersey and across the U.S. with 6,400 of them ending in death. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has shown how prominent drowsy driving is in its recent Sleep Prioritization Survey of 2,003 U.S. adults. It turned out that 45% of the respondents have driven in such a drowsy condition that they struggled to keep their eyes open.

Drowsy driving is 100% preventable, so the AASM has provided some tips to help drivers avoid drowsiness. First, drivers must have adequate sleep every night. If they are continually and excessively sleepy despite a regular, healthy sleep schedule, then they could have obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.

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