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Five tips for preventing machinery-related injuries

Poor maintenance and improper use of machinery are usually to blame for machinery-related injuries in the workplace. Employers in Pennsylvania who want to ensure a safe environment for their employees will want to consider the following five tips. They apply not only to the heavyweight machines but also to the small machines that are relatively easy to operate.

Machine guarding is the first step. Barrier guards, light curtains and two-hand controls are just a few examples of guarding. They can prevent injuries due to rotating parts, flying chips and sparks from tools like saws and lathes. The next step is to have all employees wear the right personal protective equipment. This includes helmets, safety goggles and face shields, ear protection, gloves and steel-toe shoes. To determine what sort of PPE is necessary, employers should conduct a hazard assessment.

Study reveals disturbing distracted driving attitudes

Mobile phone use plays a role in about one in four car accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country, according to some analysts. Despite laws prohibiting the use of phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel, most road safety advocates expect the problem to get worse in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers recently asked 447 South East Queensland drivers about the crash risks associated with phone use. Researchers discovered that this dangerous behavior is more common among inexperienced motorists and women.

The distracted driving research, which was published by the Society for Risk Analysis, also reveals that drivers are not deterred by laws mandating the use of hands-free devices. Many respondents told the researchers that only traffic congestion, hazardous driving conditions or a visible police presence prevented them from using their mobile phones.

Most common severe injuries in the oil and gas industry

The oil and gas industry is extremely dangerous. According to a recent analysis by E&E News, it might have the highest rates of severe injury in the country. Before looking at why the industry is so dangerous, it’s important to understand the petroleum industry’s supply chain, and where most of those injuries occur.

Preventing heat stroke from occurring at a work site

During the summer, Pennsylvania workers may be at risk for suffering heat stroke when the temperatures begin to rise. Because heat stroke can be dangerous, employers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency as it can be fatal if it's not treated. Those who are experiencing heat stroke could develop temperatures as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit. They may become confused and disorientated. In some cases, they can lose the ability to create sweat, meaning they won't be able to cool themselves down. This may also make their skin appear red and feel hot and dry to the touch.

Truck brakes must be maintained for safety

Drivers in Pennsylvania have plenty to be concerned about when it comes to the dangers posed by poorly maintained truck brakes and equipment. When a large commercial truck drives with dangerously bad brakes, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on the road can pay a high price in case of a crash. Improperly maintained brakes may mean that a truck driver is unable to stop their vehicle at the right time, and with the size, weight and mass of 18-wheelers, the results can be catastrophic or even fatal. This is one reason the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is organizing Brake Safety Week.

Marked between September 16 and 22 this year, the safety week includes enhanced inspections of trucks across the country. Trucks will receive complete Level I inspections, but these will focus in particular on aspects of the brake system that could indicate poor maintenance. Among other issues, inspectors will be on the lookout for missing or loose brake parts; worn-out pads, linings, drums and rotors; leaking air or hydraulic fluid; damaged rotors; mismatched or broken air chambers and reservoirs; and missing required warning devices.

How sanitation employers can keep their workers safe

Sanitation employers and employees in Pennsylvania may not be aware that the industry they work in is one of the most dangerous in the nation. Among civilian occupations in 2016, refuse and recyclable material collectors had the fifth highest fatal injury rate. This is according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Protecting sanitation workers is therefore essential. OSHA, while it conducts inspections of sanitation companies and reviews complaints, does not have any regulations that directly regulate the industry or its vehicles. However, the agency does cite in its General Duty Clause a set of standards drawn up by the American National Standards Institute.

Deadly trucking crashes continue upward trend

For many Pennsylvania drivers, the fear of having a crash involving a large truck or bus can be very real. With the large size and mass of these vehicles, they have a significant potential to cause serious physical harm to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on the road in an accident. In addition, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks is on the rise across the country, according to statistics released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The report shows an ongoing trend over several years of increasing fatal truck accidents. From 2005 to 2009, trucking accident deaths declined significantly with an overall decrease of 34 percent. However, those gains are being reversed. Between 2009 and 2016, the number of fatal crashes has once again risen by 28 percent. In the last year studied, from 2015 to 2016, the number of deadly accidents that involved buses or large trucks increased by 6 percent. The number of trucks involved in such crashes also increased; while there were 4,074 commercial vehicles involved in fatal accidents in 2015, there were 4,213 in 2016.

Are back injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

Having to deal with any type of pain is unthinkable. Especially, if it becomes so unbearable that you can barely move. But what if the excruciating pain was from your back that you injured while working? What happens, will you be covered by workers’ compensation?

Most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You are covered by the insurance if you are an employee of the company. The only way to be compensated for your injury is if it happened while you were working or doing something on behalf of your employer or company. It must be considered a work-related injury. The workers’ compensation insurance will pay for your medical expenses that are related to your workplace injury. It also pays any missed wages because of not being able to work. It covers any ongoing care that you may need such as, physical therapy. Workers’ compensation insurance will also cover any repetitive injury, illness or disability while on the job.

Falls tied to nearly a third of construction claims

In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the construction industry is full of safety hazards. Falls from elevated surfaces are especially frequent. Nationwide Insurance recently found that out of the more than 10,000 workers' compensation claims that it processed in the past five years, nearly a third were concerned with falls. Falls can be prevented, though, with the right safety training.

This is why Nationwide recently supported the Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, which was sponsored by OSHA and held between May 7 and 11. During this nationwide event, many construction companies put a stop to operations to train their employees on proper inspection methods, equipment use and hazard assessment. For many, the stand-down was a good way to get workers to accept ongoing training.

Firm releases alarming distracted driving study

Accidents involving distracted drivers claimed 3,477 lives around the country in 2017 according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures, and most road safety experts expect the death toll to rise even higher in the years ahead. The alarming rise in distracted driving accidents and fatalities is generally blamed on cellphone use behind the wheel, and a study from the technology firm Everdrive suggests that one in three American drivers, including many in Pennsylvania, engage in this potentially deadly behavior every day.

The study was based on data gathered from 300,000 drivers who downloaded Everdrive's road safety application. This has led some to suggest that the problem is even more serious than the study suggests because people who download safety applications may be less likely to engage in reckless behavior while behind the wheel. Drivers across the country spend more than three minutes each day using their cellphones according to the Everdrive data, but that figure is far higher in the Northeast and it is especially high in Pennsylvania.

Stapp Law, LLC - Workers Compensation

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