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Speeding deaths continue to rise, says GHSA report

Speeding is a factor in nearly one-third of all automobile-related fatalities, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Yet speeding is considered culturally acceptable among many drivers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., and this mindset cannot be changed except through better education and stricter law enforcement, among other things.

This is the claim of the GHSA. In April 2019, the GHSA and the Institute for Highway Safety will be convening a forum with major stakeholders in the generation of a speeding reduction program. This can then be implemented by the GHSA's State Highway Safety Offices. Members of these state offices can do much to spearhead educational and enforcement efforts as well as coordinate stakeholder alliances.

Workers' compensation and utilization review

Utilization review is an important factor in many Pennsylvania workers' compensation cases. An employer, injured worker or insurer can make a utilization review request with the goal of determining whether the medical treatment being provided is in fact necessary and reasonable. Once the request is filed, the case will be sent to a utilization review organization. The URO will request relevant medical records and forward the records to a specialized reviewer.

The reviewer will then make a determination regarding the necessity and reasonableness of the treatment based on experience and medical standards. Typically, the reviewer's decision comes down roughly 65 days following the utilization review request. Injured workers have certain rights they can assert during a utilization review. For example, an injured worker can issue a statement regarding the effectiveness, reasonableness and necessity of the treatments involved. The worker also has the right to disagree with the final determination via petition.

Does workers comp cover back injuries in Pennsylvania?

Back injuries can make any job more difficult, but if you have a physically demanding job, you rely on your back every day. A back injury can make your job nearly impossible. You may be wondering what you can do if you received your back injury on the job. Does Pennsylvania law allow you to receive workers comp benefits?

Oil and gas drilling workers face dangerous working conditions

Certain occupations are more inherently dangerous than others. Pennsylvania's coal mining industry was at one time the cause of many deaths and injuries, but today, the oil and gas drilling industry is regularly listed among the most dangerous. OSHA requires employers to control or mitigate identified hazards. Despite this, deaths and severe injuries in the oil and gas fields continue to increase.

Government studies have revealed the oil and gas drilling industry has a mortality rate five times that of all other industries in the U.S., combined. This translates to over 1,500 deaths in a nine-year period, approximately the same number of American troops who lost their lives in Afghanistan during the same time period. OSHA regularly cites oil and gas companies. Well over half of these 10,000-plus citations over the past decade have been for "serious" issues, meaning those likely to result in severe injury or death.

How to tow a trailer safely

Jackknifing refers to the process during which and its trailer form an L or V shape as they veer off of the highway. Although such an accident can be fatal, there are steps that can be taken to prevent one from happening. For instance, truckers should check their trailers frequently while driving on Pennsylvania highways. This can be done by making use of the truck's mirrors, especially whenever the truck has to brake hard.

A jackknife is more likely if a truck has an empty trailer because it weighs less than a full trailer. Therefore, it is easy to brake too hard, and there is also less friction between the wheels and the road. Another tactic is to avoid braking when making a turn. Instead, it can be a better idea to slow down prior to the turn, which leads to less force being applied to the brakes.

Technologies could blunt impact of car crashes

Many people in Pennsylvania may be interested in technologies that could improve driving safety. One company, ZF, is developing external airbags that cushion a car's exterior in case of a crash in order to reduce the risk of injury or death. Every year, thousands of people across the country lose their lives in car crashes, and technologies that could make these accidents less deadly are appealing to many. ZF is not the first company to develop external airbags, but the company released tests that claim injury severity could be reduced by 40 percent if the bags deploy.

While internal airbags are now a required safety feature, external airbags have faced a range of problems that have prevented them from moving forward into production. The airbags are designed to deploy on the vehicle's side in case of a car crash, forming a large pillow or cushion that blunts the blow from the oncoming vehicle in the case of a side-impact or T-bone crash. However, manufacturers must design the technology to function properly, opening when necessary and staying in place when not needed.

The dangers of diesel exhaust exposure

Many workers in Pennsylvania must deal with exposure to diesel exhaust. To help address the dangers of diesel exhaust exposure, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has published a fact sheet for employees in the oil and gas industry.

For starters, it's important to understand that short-term exposure to diesel exhaust can cause headaches and dizziness as well as eye, nose and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure increases the risk for cancer as well as heart and lung disease.

Attorney Gregory Stapp named to America’s Top 100 Lawyers

Twenty-two years ago, Gregory Andrew Stapp, the founding attorney of Stapp Law, LLC, began practicing law. His goal was to stand up for injured people who suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence. When he began his practice, he had no idea America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® would someday select him as a member.

This month, America’s Top 100 LLC selected him for this prestigious honor, which recognizes the nation’s most exceptional trial attorneys in high-stakes legal matters. The organization gives this honor to less than one-half percent of active attorneys in the nation.

CVSA sidelines nearly 5,000 trucks during Brake Safety Week

From September 16 to 22, 2018, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance hosted its annual Brake Safety Week. The results of that inspection spree are now out and should be of interest to truckers and truck fleet owners in Pennsylvania. In all, the CVSA stopped 35,080 commercial vehicles across the U.S. and Canada. A total of 4,955, or just over 14 percent of the vehicles, were put out of service.

Inspectors focused on the maintenance of antilock braking systems on those vehicles that require them. They cited 2,176 out of 26,143 air-braked power units (8.3 percent) for ABS violations. Out of 17,857 trailers inspected that require ABS, 2,224 (12.5 percent) had ABS violations. 234 out of 5,354 hydraulic-braked trucks (4.4 percent) that require ABS were found with violations as well.

OSHA's trenching and excavation NEP begins

Employers in Pennsylvania, especially those in construction, should know that OSHA has kicked off one of its National Emphasis Program, this time on trenching and excavation safety. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 130 fatalities in trenching and excavation operations between 2011 and 2016. Eighty percent occurred in the private construction industry.

Even more importantly, nearly half of these fatalities arose between 2015 and 2016, revealing an upward trend. It is largely in response to these figures that OSHA initiated its NEP. Starting October 1, 2018, OSHA's area and regional offices are providing outreach to employers who need help complying with current safety guidelines. These regulations are outlined in a Trenching and Excavation Quick Card.

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Stapp Law, LLC - Workers Compensation

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Williamsport, PA 17701

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