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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Working at heights is common in construction, and there is a good chance of being involved in construction accidents even under the best of conditions. In most cases, some type of scaffolding is used to accomplish the necessary tasks, and that fact that it is a temporary structure that requires assembly and disassembly increases the chances of construction accidents.

Scaffolding has been used since ancient times to work at heights, and modern technology has made it cheaper, safer and easier to use. However, just like with any other construction equipment, it needs to be maintained and used properly so that it will not cause construction accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued several regulations regarding the types, sizes and conditions of materials used in scaffolding to ensure that it exceeds the load-bearing requirements of its use as well as the proper assembly and disassembly to maximize the stability of these essential structures.

Not surprisingly, many of the construction accidents involving scaffolding are due to its defective condition, incorrect assembly or disassembly, or improper use. These are all indications of the lack of supervision onsite as well as the lack of training of workers in the use of scaffolding in general. An article from the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, experienced New York construction accident lawyers, it is crucial that scaffolding must be carefully assembled because workers literally place their lives on the line every time they climb up on one. The failure of construction management to provide these necessary aspects of scaffolding use may be construed as a breach in the duty of care that employers or contractors owe their workers, and may be actionable.

Scaffolding-related construction accidents include slips and falls, collapse, falling objects, and electrocution. Injuries sustained in this type of construction accidents may be serious, or even fatal. Construction workers who are injured or killed because of the negligence of their employers deserve to get adequate compensation for the physical, mental, emotional and financial damage that result. A construction accident lawyer with the right kind of expertise should be retained to handle any case that may be filed against a negligent employer in construction.

A comparison of the number of construction accidents in New York for 2011 and 2012 show a sharp rise by 31%. This is attributed to the growing tendency of construction companies to ignore safety regulations because they have no motivation to improve working conditions. The concerned government agencies have yet to impose sanctions that would effectively discourage unsafe practices.

Construction accidents tend to result in serious injuries if not death. As an occupation, construction workers buy into a certain amount of risk because they often work with heavy equipment, power tools and inherently unsafe environments such as unfinished buildings, demolition sites, and working at heights. However, there is no excuse to exacerbate these risks by ignoring basic safety rules such as ensuring equipment are properly maintained, providing safety gear, and seeing to it that the site is not in danger of collapse.

According to the website of Hach & Rose, LLP, the most common construction accidents include:

  • Falling materials and equipment
  • Unsafe work sites
  • Defective scaffolding
  • Heavy construction vehicle accidents
  • Crane collapse

Many of these construction accidents are preventable with a minimum of safety precautions. Recent construction accidents in New York resulted from ignoring basic safety rules, such as preventing workers from going to a site which is clearly in danger of collapsing, or inspecting cranes to see that cables are not frayed or otherwise unsafe to operate.

Victims of construction accidents that occurred because of negligence may have legal recourse to help them recover from the hardship caused by serious injuries or the loss sustained by the family of a worker who dies unexpectedly. It is important to get competent legal representation in New York with the experience and knowledge to bring off a personal injury or wrongful death claim for construction accidents successfully. It can mean the difference between getting the compensation deserved and being left holding the bag.

According to an annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace deaths in the United States last year decreased overall, though some states and industries saw troubling increases. In particular, authorities are concerned about fatal accidents in the oil and gas industry, which reached a record high in 2012.

Last year, 4,383 workers died in accidents at their work sites, a significant decrease from 2011’s 4,693. While the national figures are a testament to most states making advances in workplace safety, they don’t tell the whole story. In Texas, 531 deaths occurred in 2012 compared with only 433 in 2011, a phenomenon that occurred in several other states.

Nationwide, oil and gas industries saw a substantial 23 percent jump in workplace fatalities to 138, an increase experts associate with the recent boom in natural gas extraction. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez called the deaths “unacceptable.”

“We can and must do better,” Perez said.

The construction industry, which typically sees numerous workplace fatalities each year, also got low marks for safety. 775 construction workers died in 2012, a five percent increase that came after a five-year period of safety gains. Construction accidents have a higher potential to be fatal because of the mechanical hazards present at work sites such as heavy machinery and electricity. Construction tallied the most fatalities in several states, including Texas and Wyoming.

In response to the poor safety ratings in the construction and oil and gas industries, the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration has created educational initiatives and plans to conduct oil and gas industry safety checks throughout the next year.

“No worker should lose their life for a paycheck,” Perez said.

Slips and falls might not seem like serious occurrences, but they result in thousands of injuries and fatalities each year across the United States. In fact, slips and falls together comprised one of the top five most common workplace accidents last year based on data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Businesses and employers are responsible for keeping their premises safe in order to prevent slips, trips, and other accidents. If a business fails to ensure customer safety, a slip could cause anything from head trauma, nerve injury, paralysis, and death.

A number of accidents can be prevented just by being careful. It’s important to know the most common causes of slip and fall injuries, as well as the best ways to successfully navigate dangerous surfaces.

Major factors causing slips, trips, and falls:

  • Wet or slippery surfaces, including polished, wet, and waxed floors.
  • Environmental conditions, including ice, snow, and water. “Black ice,” a layer of thin, almost-invisible ice, can be hard to detect and causes frequent injury.
  • Insufficient lighting, which can hide obstacles or drop-offs.
  • Elevation changes, including stairs. Many stair-related injuries are caused because of stairs with uneven surfaces and tread heights.

Best ways to avoid slips and falls:

  • Wear shoes with good traction.
  • Use handrails and other objects to steady yourself and retain your balance.
  • In the event of a fall, use your hands and legs to protect your head, neck, and spine from injury.

Businesses or workplaces with insufficient warning about slippery surfaces are often responsible for slip and fall injuries. If you have been hurt in a slip or fall, you should seek medical help immediately.

Nursing home “care” may border on abuse in some states, according to a report released last month by advocacy group Families for Better Care. The Florida-based group graded states on several criteria including average employee hours per resident per day, care staff to resident ratio, and health inspection score. Hawaii, Alaska, and Maine received the highest scores, but the report declared nursing homes in Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana inadequate.

Nursing home staff are responsible for providing excellent care for their elderly residents. However, nursing homes across the country continue to fail to provide even adequate care. Nursing home residents who are not receiving proper care can suffer injuries from falls, bedsores, malnutrition, and physical and emotional abuse.

Laws passed in several states last year allowed the use of hidden cameras in nursing home rooms, which have improved the standard of care according to inspectors. Last year in Oklahoma, a state that received an “F” rating from Families for Better Care, a video camera caught a nurse forcefully shoving food into a 96-year-old woman’s mouth. Similar scenes of abuse have been captured by cameras in other homes.

One of the most substantial barriers to providing effective care is the lack of well-trained nursing home staff. According to July’s report, a paltry seven states provided residents with more than one hour of professional care each day, and a vast majority of states gave residents less than three hours of direct daily care. Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care, called nationwide nursing care “slipshod” and blamed it for “thousands of painful or deadly blunders.”

“It’s beyond time that states take a hard look at their nursing home care and figure out what’s working so residents receive safer, more affordable care,” Lee said.

Doctors and other medical professionals are bound by oath to protect their patients and provide proper care. However, when a medical professional makes a mistake, the error can cause anything from a minor inconvenience to severe injury or death.

Medical malpractice is a sensitive issue in Ohio this month. A spine surgeon from the Center for Advanced Spine Technologies was charged in early August for perpetrating Medicare fraud. Atiq Durrani, MD, allegedly performed a number of unnecessary spine surgeries from 2010 to 2013, billing Medicare a hefty $11 million sum. Durrani, who has declared himself not guilty, disputed the prosecution’s claim that he caused patients “serious bodily injury.”

Several patients have accused Dr. Durrani of performing extraneous and wrong site operations, actions classified as improper treatment. Patient Stephanie Herrin-Threm claimed Durrani “fused [her] cervical spine” and “put in rods and screws.” The indictment states that Durrani would “tell a patient that there was risk of paralysis or the head would fall off if the patient was in a car accident because there was almost nothing attaching the head to the patient’s body.”

The 44-year-old doctor is fighting back against the prosecution, accusing attorney Eric Deters of using “very provocative racial language” against him. Durrani said he accepts only two or three patients out of 10, and doesn’t go out of his way to perform extra surgeries.

If convicted, Durrani could receive up to 25 years in prison for health care fraud and false statements in health care matters.

Nearly 75 million dogs live in the United States. Though most are harmless, dog bites are still a frequent and serious occurrence. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 4.5 million dog bites occur each year, 30,000 of which require victims to undergo reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, children account for 60 percent of reported dog bite injuries.

Dog bites may be even more of a problem in cities like Detroit. As the area’s economic woes increase, so does its stray animal problem. According to recent estimates, as many as 50,000 stray dogs could be roaming Detroit’s streets, killing pets and frightening homeowners.

Regardless of where you live, here are a few safety tips to remember that can help you prevent dog bites.

  • Choose a dog breed that is not known for aggressive traits, and keep small children under constant supervision around dogs.
  • Do not approach stray or unfamiliar dogs.
  • Don’t approach a dog with quick motions, especially when it is eating or sleeping.
  • Dog bites are dangerous injuries, since a dog’s teeth can injure bones, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves deep beneath the skin. If a dog bite has occurred follow these steps.
  • Seek medical care if the dog bite punctures or tears the skin.
  • Always seek medical care for a child who has been bitten.
  • Attempt to write down important information such as the dog’s breed and immunization status, which can help a medical professional treat a bite injury.

With proper care and supervision a majority of dog bites can be prevented. If you are bitten by a dog, you should visit a medical professional to treat the injury and prevent a potential infection.