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Manalapan New Jersey Legal Blog

Electrical safety is a must in wet conditions

When the weather turns sour in New Jersey, and rain, sleet, ice or snow make your work harder than usual, it's important that you're prepared to avoid injuries. If you work with electricity, that means being cautious not to suffer an electric shock.

As you know, water is conductive, which means that electricity passes through it easily. If you are in water at the time of an electric shock, it's more likely to cause damage than if you are not. Similarly, if you're approaching a downed line, any puddle or grouping of water touching it could be electrified.

OSHA names major workplace safety violations

Workers in New Jersey may face an array of dangers on the job, especially if they work on heights or in construction areas. This can be especially true when employers violate safety regulations. A deputy director of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, announced the agency's top 10 workplace safety violations at the 2018 National Safety Council congress. The statistics, collected between October 2017 and September 2018, identified the safety regulations most frequently violated by employers across the country.

Many of the featured workplace safety issues have figured prominently year after year in the OSHA statistics. For example, the top issue repeated for the past several years was failure to provide fall protection. Employers have a duty to provide proper protective equipment to help workers on heights prevent falls or mitigate the consequences if one occurs. However, OSHA found 7,270 cases in which employers failed to provide this gear to employees working on unprotected edges or on rooftops. This was not the only issue related to fall protection. Failure to provide proper training on these issues was the eighth most common workplace safety violation during the year. Employers failed to train workers or did not ensure that the trainer was competent to do so.

Safety officials say drugged driving is on the rise

New Jersey is one of many states that have legalized medical marijuana, and the number of states that have legalized recreational use of the drug has been expanding as well. With the increase in legal use of marijuana and the problem of prescription drug abuse, the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for more work to be done to combat the problem of drug-impaired driving.

On Oct. 16, the NTSB asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write standards for roadside drug testing devices and give additional guidance to states on how to fight drug-impaired driving.

OSHA updates NEP for trench and excavation safety

Construction workers in New Jersey should know that trenching and excavation operations are leading to more fatalities. Between 2011 and 2016, OSHA recorded 130 fatalities related to such operations. Approximately 49 percent occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone. The private construction industry accounted for 80 percent, numbering 104, of all the fatalities.

Seeing a need for increased enforcement of trenching and excavation safety standards, OSHA has updated its National Emphasis Program for the field. The revised NEP went into effect on Oct. 1. OSHA has stipulated that its regional and area offices provide outreach for 90 days following Oct. 1; this way, employers can ensure that they comply with safety standards.

Employee engagement improves safety at workplaces

New Jersey employees naturally want to avoid injuries on the job. Their desire to remain safe, however, can either be encouraged or discouraged by management. An employer that consistently communicates safety procedures to employees and invites their feedback about potential safety problems can reduce incidents by as much as 70 percent compared to disengaged employers.

Employers can successfully manage workplace hazards by training all staff members about safety instead of leaving those concerns solely in the hands of a safety manager. Safety management software helps companies track data about injuries. This technology can also include mobile applications where workers can view safety alerts. An involved staff that has access to updates about safety guidelines and knows that problems can be reported without retaliation will produce better results than employees kept in the dark about safety issues.

You can file a claim for your repetitive-strain injury

Repetitive trauma is common in workplaces where you do similar things day after day. For example, if you work in education, you probably stand, use a chalkboard and grade papers regularly, all repetitive motions. If you work in a factory, you might wrap items or move them several times a minute in similar movement patterns. If you are a writer, you could use a keyboard for many hours a day. In any case where you're doing similar actions time and time again, you could end up with a repetitive-strain injury.

In New Jersey, repetitive trauma cases are normally compensated under the Workers' Compensation Act. To be able to make a claim, you will need to determine the date of injury. Knowing the date of the accident is necessary when you file a claim.

The common hazards construction workers face

Construction workers make up about 6 percent of the overall workforce throughout New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. However, they accounted for 20 percent of employee deaths in the private sector according to OSHA data. One of the biggest hazards workers face on a construction site is falling. Falls can occur because of an unstable surface or because they weren't using a ladder in a safe manner. They can also occur because workers failed to use or improperly used protective equipment.

Employees may be at risk for getting hurt or killed on a construction site because of electrical hazards. Therefore, workers should know where power lines and other utilities are located. It's also important to have a plan to avoid them while working. Furthermore, a safety plan should account for forklifts, cranes and other large equipment used on a job site. This can help to prevent accidents related to construction workers being hit by objects.

New awareness campaign targets drugged drivers

Drug-impaired driving is increasing in New Jersey and across the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a result, the agency is launching a new campaign to raise awareness about the issue. The initiative will run through Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 3 this year.

The new campaign is similar to drunk driving initiatives like the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The taglines for the drug-impaired initiative are "If You Feel Different, You Drive Different" and "If You Drive High, You Get a DUI".

11 steps to safer chemical handling

Chemical handlers in New Jersey face a wide range of risks, but these could be reduced or avoided if they consider the following 11 safety rules. Employers will want to incorporate them as they are general enough to apply to any workplace where hazardous chemicals are present.

The first rule may be the most important: Workers should perform their duties as they were trained to do. Second, they should wash their hands with soap and water after handling materials and clean all work surfaces so as to prevent contamination. Workers will also fare better if they are trained to think ahead to any potential hazards. Eating and drinking while handling materials should be forbidden.

Signs of a head injury after an accident

New Jersey residents who have been in a car crash should get themselves checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. This is because a medical professional can check for symptoms of a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Tests can be done that check for the ability to recall words or if there are signs of memory loss. Other symptoms of a head injury include a lack of balance or a change in mood over time.

Individuals should know that they may experience symptoms two or three days after the crash takes place. Therefore, they should not skip seeking medical treatment just because there is no apparent injury immediately after the crash occurs. Internal bleeding can also be a problem after a car crash, and it is easier to manage a bleed or other consequences of a head injury when a person seeks help right away.

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

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