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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

Report says web giant avoided workplace safety rules

A report published jointly in Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Atlantic indicates that web commerce giant Amazon may have dodged workplace safety officials for years prior to 2015. New Jersey readers might be interested in the specifics of the report. Amazon says it never had a policy of under-reporting employee injuries and claims that it introduced a policy to record all employee injuries during the year 2016. According to the report, though, the company took steps to minimize or shift blame for employee injuries or deaths on many occasions.

According to the report, Amazon ignored requests by employees or gave incomplete records at least a dozen times in connection with injuries. These actions may have been in violation of federal rules. The company allegedly told some employees that they had the right to request records only for the time period during which they were employed, but a spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that is incorrect.

Proactive companies take holistic approach to workplace safety

Employers in New Jersey that adopt proactive strategies to limit worker injuries and illnesses have much to gain. They might increase productivity while reducing the costs associated with treating injured workers. The Total Worker Health concept promoted by the National Institute for Occupational Health encourages employers to take a holistic view of workplace safety needs.

The holistic approach strives to improve safety from every angle. Policies take into account the emotional, social, financial and environmental forces acting upon workers. By integrating the factors that influence overall worker well-being into workplace safety practices, employers can advance their goal of preventing injuries.

Company fined for safety violations

OSHA has fined a New Jersey company nearly $400,000 for what were referred to as repeated safety violations at a plant in Pennsauken. The fines were levied after an inspection in April 2019 found violations related to lockout/tagout procedures. An obstructed loading dock as well as blocked electrical disconnects were discovered during the April inspection. OSHA also said that the warehouse had improper lighting.

In 2015, an employee lost two fingers while operating a machine at the facility, and the issue had not been corrected when OSHA inspected the facility in 2017. At the time, OSHA said that the company had failed to train workers on how to properly use the machine and others like it. An agency representative had also said there were issues related to compliance with lockout/tagout rules and rules related to machine guarding.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Some injuries come on in an instant and cause immediate pain. Others, however, slowly take a toll on your body. And that's where carpal tunnel syndrome comes into play.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the entirety of the arm and ends in the hand.

Management has a vital role in creating workplace safety culture

The safety hazards at workplaces vary by industry throughout New Jersey, and management and workers share the responsibility for promoting safety. The role of developing a strong safety culture falls on management. Managers who take active steps to identify hazards and reduce workers' exposure to danger promote greater trust throughout an organization. Managers who only speak about safety but do not pursue policies to improve safety inspire disengagement within the workforce.

Leaders who are serious about reducing on-the-job accidents and injuries instill a sense of collective responsibility throughout the company. Managers and workers will feel a duty to speak up about risks and take action to improve safety. A workplace culture with a genuine focus on safety will also support good housekeeping and welcome discussions about safety.

Overall employment conditions can affect worker health, safety

Many workers in New Jersey don't work traditional jobs with regular hours and job security but instead make money in the growing gig economy. The resulting differences in employment conditions can, taken together, have an effect on workers' mental and physical health as well as on their occupational injury risk. This was the conclusion of a study from the University of Washington. What makes this study unique is that it analyzes all employment conditions rather than a single factor like pay or the type of contract. The following are just some of the findings.

Compared to those with traditional employment, workers in "dead-end" jobs and "precarious" jobs reported poorer mental and physical health. In the former case, workers may be well-paid and unionized, but there is little empowerment or opportunity to advance. In the latter case, workers are on short-term contracts and may find it hard to obtain full-time hours.

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