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Construction and demolition work can cause occupational disease

For New Jersey workers who are employed in the construction industry and do renovation and demolition, there are dangers they might face as part of their job. While accidents are often the cause of injuries, medical costs and the need for workers' compensation benefits, workers can also become ill due to exposure to gas, dust and contaminants. It is important for workers to understand recommendations from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, and assess whether employers put the proper safety procedures in place.

NIOSH has given employers a list of recommendations to ensure the indoor environmental quality, or IEQ, is sufficient for a safe workplace. In a study, worksites were assessed for potential health hazards, and the investigators listed factors that might impact IEQ. They included communication with occupants of the building about the work, building materials that have high emissions and the absence of dust control. These are common concerns with demolition, construction, renovation and repair.

Six frequent ways that craft breweries violate OSHA standards

OSHA's health and safety standards apply to every industry, even the craft beer industry, but many craft breweries in New Jersey and across the U.S. are acting in ways that fail to meet these standards. The following are six common ways that craft breweries are violating OSHA standards.

First are violations of the rules regarding permit-required confined spaces. Employees are not meant to occupy these spaces for extended periods, and there should be a plan in place to at least monitor atmospheric changes in such spaces.

OSHA updates focus on amputations

Many people in New Jersey work around machinery and manufacturing equipment in their jobs. When machinery or equipment is not maintained adequately or fitted with proper guards, workers who use it are at risk for amputation injuries. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an amputation is defined as the loss or partial loss of an external body part, including a fingertip even if there is no loss of bone.

On Dec. 17, OSHA announced new updates to the National Emphasis Program. The updates will focus on inspections of factory machinery in an effort to reduce the number of workplace amputations. As part of the new focus, OSHA will be providing outreach and education on the subject of workplace amputations until March 10.

Companies need to invest resources into worker safety

A shift from manual labor to automation has created new potential hazards for workers in New Jersey warehouses. For instance, interactions between autonomous forklifts and human floor workers could result in a serious injury. The injury rate for warehouse employees is 5.1 per 100 full-time workers, and the number of warehouse deaths doubled between 2015 and 2017. Therefore, warehouse managers and owners should create safety plans that take into account as many hazards as possible.

It is also important for companies to learn as much as they can from incidents that don't result in injuries or death. This is because those incidents may provide clues as to the dangers a worker may face, and this insight can then be used to ensure that a similar accident doesn't happen again.

3 tips for safer holiday driving this winter

Car crashes are common at any time of year, but now that holiday traffic is starting to pick up, you may see them more often. On top of busy traffic during the holiday season, you may also see an uptick in crashes due to weather. Cold, rain, sleet and snow combine to reduce visibility and potentially make slick roads that are difficult to maneuver.

Since you have to get to work every day regardless of the road conditions, there are some things you can do to keep safer during this busy time of year. By taking some proactive steps to keep your vehicle in good condition and to prepare for the drive ahead of you, you can stay safer. Here are three tips to follow to make it more likely that you'll reach your destination in good health.

What to know about double hearing protection

Workers in New Jersey who are exposed to loud noise may need to be given two forms of hearing protection at the same time. This is known as double hearing protection, and it typically means that an employee will wear an earplug and an earmuff simultaneously. It is important that employers offer protection that is tailored to the type of work employees perform and the environment in which those employees work.

Otherwise, it may be difficult or impossible for a worker to hear a warning siren or other indication that he or she may be in danger. It is also important that an earplug fits properly and is worn properly. Failure to use an earplug as designed could result in hearing loss or other health issues even if double hearing protection is offered. In addition to double hearing protection protocols, companies are encouraged to have other controls in place to minimize employee hearing loss.

Distracted driving costs $40 million each year

Artificial intelligence technologies could make the roads safer for New Jersey residents. Many people are interested in the potential of autonomous vehicles to reduce the number of car crashes by cutting down on the risk of human error. There are a variety of safety technologies being integrated into modern vehicles, from forward collision alerts to blind spot avoidance. All of these can help to offset the additional risks that other technologies pose. Often associated with mobile phones, distracted driving takes nine lives across the country every day and injures 100 more people.

While technology may prompt some drivers to text or surf the internet behind the wheel, others may be distracted by the built-in touchscreen entertainment and GPS systems in many modern vehicles. Distracted driving-related car crashes take a toll financially as well. They account for around $40 million in damages every year, compared to $44 million from collisions associated with drunk driving.

Investigation reveals the unreliability of breath tests

Judges in New Jersey and Massachusetts dismissed more than 30,000 drunk driving cases in just 12 months because of unreliable breath tests according to New York Times reporters. The newspaper investigated the use of breath-testing devices by police officers, and they claim to have discovered widespread human error and lax official oversight. The report reveals that some breath test devices produced blood alcohol concentration readings that were 40% higher than they should have been. The newspaper published its findings on Nov. 3.

During the course of their investigation, New York Times reporters interviewed more than 100 attorneys, scientists, executives and police officers and scrutinized thousands of court transcripts, emails, corporate records and other documents. What they discovered suggests that the breath-testing equipment law enforcement uses use to measure blood alcohol concentrations is often defective, poorly maintained or improperly calibrated. One police department even tampered with a breath-testing machine by drilling a hole to prevent low BAC readings according to the report.

Operation Safe Driver Week nabs speeding truck drivers

Federal statistics show that driver errors contribute to approximately 94% of all traffic accidents in New Jersey and elsewhere. In order to cut down on crash-related injuries and deaths, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance sponsors Operation Safe Driver Week each year.

During the 2019 campaign, which was conducted from July 14-20, law enforcement officers across North America issued 46,752 citations to drivers of commercial and passenger vehicles. Speeding was the focus of this year's event, and officers issued 17,556 citations for exceeding the posted speed limit. Of those citations, 1,454 were issued to commercial operators, including truck drivers. Another 2,126 commercial drivers received warnings for speeding.

Massage therapists can suffer career-ending injuries at work

Massage therapists often go into their line of work because they want to help other people live their best lives. A properly administered massage can reduce someone's pain and improve their range of motion. Massage offers both relaxation and potential strengthening for the recipient, depending on how the professional masseuse administers the manual treatments.

Sadly, quite a few people who pursue massage as a career find themselves struggling with injuries as a result of their desire to help others. They may find themselves dependent on massage, physical therapy or even pain medication to continue working. Massage requires a lot of work from the arms, hands and shoulders, which can be both physically tiring and a potential source of injury.

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Law Office of Jack L. Stillman, P.A.
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Manalapan, NJ 07726

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