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Manalapan New Jersey Legal Blog

Automation technology in cars could be too advanced for some

As many New Jersey car enthusiasts know, the auto industry has been working feverishly to introduce new safety technology and crash avoidance systems to make cars safer for drivers. In fact, most new vehicles making their way out on to the roadways already have automated assistance technology that can keep vehicles in lanes and brake in an emergency.

While these automated systems can make cars safer, it can be very difficult for drivers to keep up with the ever-changing safety technology. As these systems become more and more advanced, it can take some effort to use them appropriately. On top of that, automakers are all coming out with their own systems of varying levels of autonomy, potentially making it difficult to switch between vehicles. This could put drivers at risk for causing severe crashes simply because they do not know how to use the car.

Breathalyzer tests aren't infallible

When a person in New Jersey is in ketosis, his or her liver uses fat to create fuel. This process creates acetone that is expelled from the body as isopropyl alcohol each time a person breathes. The isopropyl alcohol may inflate a person's blood alcohol content, which could result in being charged with a DUI. While some parties claim otherwise, it has not been proven that most Breathalyzer devices can tell the difference between ethanol and isopropyl alcohol.

However, it is important to note that being in ketosis is generally not enough to push person's blood alcohol content past .08 percent. If a person has not been drinking, it may raise their blood alcohol level to around .02 or slightly higher. Furthermore, police use other evidence in addition to field sobriety tests to determine if a person is likely intoxicated.

Follow these tips to prevent a ladder accident at work

A ladder is one of many tools you can use at work to improve efficiency and enhance safety. However, the use of a ladder can also result in a serious accident, often by making the smallest of mistakes.

Here are five simple tips you can follow to help prevent a ladder accident at work in Manalapan:

  • Don't set the ladder in a high traffic area: For example, setting a ladder in close proximity to an entry door or vehicular traffic increases the likelihood of someone or something knocking it down.
  • Inspect the ladder before use: If you find any defects or damage, such as cracks or rust, set the ladder aside and use another one for the meantime. If the ladder can't be repaired, dispose of it safely.
  • Maintain three points of contact: This helps you keep your balance, as you'll always have one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot on the ladder. If you only have two points of contact, there's a greater chance of losing your balance and falling to the ground.
  • Don't carry a heavy load up or down the ladder: It's tempting to do this, especially if you're in a hurry, but the heavier the load, the greater chance it'll pull you away from the ladder.
  • Watch for the final step: Many ladder accidents occur near the ground, such as if you think you're on the last step but you're actually a rung or two above it. Knowing where you're at on the ladder at all times will help keep you safe.

Safety guidelines could protect electrical workers

Electrical workers in New Jersey may be exposed to an array of dangers on the job, especially when dealing with live electricity. Electrical injuries can be particularly dangerous, and workers have even lost their lives on the job due to workplace accidents and injuries. As a result, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reached out to private industry to construct a standard for assessing whether a workplace is electrically safe. OSHA, the federal agency responsible for taking enforcement action against dangerous workplaces and imposing regulations, frequently seeks to work in partnership with the industries it regulates.

In this case, industry produced a workplace safety standard known as NFPA 70E, which aims to lay out a set of guidelines and rules to ensure an electrically safe workplace. While these regulations protect worker safety, they are also designed with an eye toward increased efficiency and productivity on the job. Rather than taking more time and costing more money to have a safe workplace, many employers have found that they achieve more and have fewer unnecessary costs.

Report shows self-driving cars are far from road-ready

Drivers in New Jersey who are wary about autonomous vehicles should know about a report from the Rand Corporation. It says that automakers and autonomous vehicle developers are rushing to introduce self-driving cars, neglecting safety in the process. Road testing is essential, but it may require millions or even billions of miles before such cars are deemed to be reliable in preventing crashes.

Of all the companies that are developing self-driving car technology, Waymo has driven the most miles, testing its vehicles for over 10 million miles in the real world and for 7 billion miles on virtual roads through its in-house simulation technology. However, the Rand report states that even this is not enough; it may take decades or centuries for cars to be sufficiently tested.

Textalyzer could help police to identify distracted drivers

New Jersey has some of the strongest texting while driving punishments in the country. Repeat offenders could face fines of up to $800 and a possible loss of driving privileges. However, even strict laws and rigorous enforcement do not seem to be enough to convince motorists to put their cellphones down and concentrate on the road ahead. In Nevada, lawmakers are considering an approach that would allow police in the state to use controversial technology to gather evidence of distraction at crash scenes.

Tickets for texting while driving are rarely issued unless the police officer involved actually observes a motorist engaging in the behavior. This is because distraction leaves no obvious signs and is hard to identify after the fact. The "textalyzer" devices being mulled in Nevada plug into electronic devices and reveal evidence of texting and swiping. Under the proposed law, motorists who refuse to comply with a request to inspect their phones would face the same kind of penalties as drivers who refuse to submit to a breath test.

Tesla slapped more OSHA violations than other automakers

New Jersey Tesla owners may be concerned to learn that the automaker's California production plant racked up three times more federal workplace safety violations over a five-year period than its top 10 competitors combined. The information was reported by Forbes.

According to the news outlet, Tesla's Fremont plant employs approximately 15,000 workers and contractors to make its electric vehicles. That is more workers than any other automaker employs in a single U.S.-based facility. It has also translated into significantly more safety violations than have been reported at any other plant. Between 2014 and 2018, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 54 violations at the Fremont plant. In comparison, the automaker with the second most violations, Nissan, received just five violations at its Tennessee plant over the same period of time.

Are you receiving all of your workers’ compensation benefits?

If you recently suffered an injury on the job, then you are probably somewhere in the workers' compensation claim process. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may require out-patient medical procedures and may not be able to work during your recovery. This is often a frightening, stressful place to find yourself.

It is important to understand that workers' compensation insurance protects employers as much or more than it may provide for workers' needs. It is rarely wise to accept the benefits the insurer offers you without reviewing them carefully. In many instances, insurers can and will provide more than their initial offer, if you know the benefits you should expect and how to pursue them.

The challenge of maintaining safety for temp workers

It's an ongoing challenge to ensure that temporary contracted workers receive appropriate protection from workplace accidents, according to OSHA and many safety advocates. Too often, New Jersey companies view temps as somehow separate from the rest of the workforce. Employers that view contract workers in this light may not treat all workers with adequate respect. For example, companies may ask temp workers to engage in unsafe activities deemed beneath full-time employees. In 2016 alone, the U.S. witnessed over 850 workplace fatalities that involved contracted employees. Experts estimate that contract worker deaths account for more than 15 percent of American workplace fatalities.

Because temp workers are newer to their jobs, they generally have less familiarity with work equipment and potential safety hazards. For a number of reasons, temp workers may not feel empowered to speak out when faced with unsafe situations.

Key tips for staying safe at work

Ideally, both workers and managers in New Jersey and throughout the country will take responsibility for workplace safety. Workers are encouraged to report any unsafe conditions to their immediate supervisors or anyone else who can remedy the problem in a timely manner. Another safety strategy is to make sure that emergency exits are easy to access at all times. Emergency shutoffs should also be easy to access and make use of in times of peril.

Workers should be allowed to take regular breaks to avoid burnout or extreme fatigue. Those who are tired or burned out may have a harder time doing their jobs properly, and they are more likely to make mistakes that could lead to injuries or illnesses. Breaks may also be a good way to reduce worker stress, which can play a role in a person burning out. Stress can be caused by long hours or being assigned too many tasks in a given workday.

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

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