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Serious Workplace Injuries Necessitate Legal Guidance

Workers have a right to consult with an attorney when serious injuries occur because of the negligence or carelessness of their employer. Unfortunately the reality is that some workplaces and management disregards their employees’ safety and health by failing to maintain equipment, conduct safety training, or monitor workplace safety. A recent indent in Sunnyvale, Texas shows how work conditions could cause physical harm or even death. OSHA’s Dallas Area Office is proposing penalties of $318,000 against American Marazzi Tile Inc. because they had 25 safety and health violations and other dangerous conditions at their facility.

American Marazzi Tile has an estimated 254 employees in its ceramic wall and floor tile manufacturing facility. The tile company is part of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program because it has an increased injury and illness rate when compared to other workplaces. It is also now in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, so it will have to pass follow-up inspections to be compliant with workplace laws.

“This company knowingly failed to implement necessary safety and health programs to protect employees from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery and prevent hearing loss,” said OSHA’s Dallas regional administrator John Hermanson. “It’s the employer’s responsibility to know the hazards and safeguard workers from these hazards in order to provide a working environment free of injuries and illnesses.”

The main violations involved machine guarding hazards, excessive noise levels, and protecting workers when machinery is unexpectedly turned on. Personal protective equipment was inadequate, safety training was not given and continuing education not in place, and energy control procedures were not mandated. Proper storage of hazardous chemicals and other substances were not followed and a bloodborne pathogen program was not instituted.

OSHA statistical data shows that the manufacturing industry has the third highest number of cases involving injuries and illnesses. The average time away from work to heal from an incident was eight days. Only the health care and social assistance and retail trade industries suffered more injuries and illnesses.

Workers who suffer an injury on the job should speak with a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. A skilled attorney knows what it takes to prove liability and establish a value for the damages incurred. Most personal injury lawyers will take a case on a contingency fee basis. In other words, they only get paid if they obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Typically, attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss injury cases.

John Hale is a Waxahachie personal injury attorney and Ellis County personal injury lawyer helping injury victims near Dallas, Texas. Learn more at http://www.hale911.com/

Increase in Pedestrian Injuries Due to Distractions, Intoxication, and Bad Roadway Design

Pedestrians injured by motor vehicles increased by 19 percent from last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest data. The rise is due to multiple factors including roadway design and lack of traffic enforcement. The most important factor responsible for the increase in pedestrian accidents is distraction caused by walking or driving while using a hand-held device. Texting, talking on a cellphone, or checking email can act as blinders to your environment and cause a serious accident.

“But there is, by now, a number of studies that indicate that pedestrian distraction is real,” said professor of environmental psychology Richard Wener from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. “It’s very much like driving a car and being on a cellphone. You’re much more likely to miss something around you…The likelihood of an accident being really bad or fatal is higher when you’re not protected by 2 tons of steel.”

Poor roadway design, a long-time culprit in pedestrian injury cases, remains an area of concern for experts. Roads are being built wider for increased traffic. With more people living in suburban areas and wider roads to accommodate traffic, accidents involving pedestrians continue to increase. Areas that have missing sidewalks, no safe crossings, poor lighting and no enforcement of traffic rules for pedestrians also increase risk of pedestrian injury.

But by far the most dangerous factor threatening pedestrians is alcohol consumption. Drunk drivers and pedestrians were involved in 48 percent of fatalities, the NHTSA reports. Trying to be safe by walking instead of driving while drunk is not the solution. If you have had one too many, you should call a cab or a friend who can safely get you home.

The NHTSA attributes some of the increase in pedestrian injury to high gas prices. As the price of gas increases so does foot traffic. This is particularly true in urban areas. So as more people hit the street, more people get hit. Sometimes life just comes at you hard and fast and there isn’t much you can do about it. Oftentimes, however, accidents can be avoided by looking both ways before crossing traffic and by never assuming that a driver is paying attention or will yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

PEDSAFE, an organization that works to improve pedestrian safety and mobility, advocates that auto drivers need to watch their speed and brake for pedestrians. Pedestrians should also take the same precautions that drivers do to stay safe when going to their destination. Pedestrians need to put away hand-held devices when walking to work, for exercise, or getting to their destination and be mindful of other modes of transportation around them.

John Hale is a Waxahachie personal injury attorney and Ellis County personal injury lawyer helping injury victims near Dallas Texas. Learn more at http://www.hale911.com/.