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Monthly Archives: September 2013

In an effort to preserve the natural beauty and environment of their respective ports, residents of Key West and Venice have formed a committee that aims to prevent oversize cruise ships from docking nearby each city.

The committee, Comitato No Grandi Navi, issued a statement last week that presents its position on the effect large cruise ships have on the two tourist sites.

“The scale of the vessels far exceeds anything that these historic ports were built to accommodate, and their sheer size overwhelms the historic setting, diminishing the visual appeal and sense of place,” the report said.

Environmental activists in Key West said they appreciate the extra support from the Venetians, especially as the sunny island city debates dredging its ship channel to allow the passage of larger cruise ships.

Critics of Comitato No Grandi Navi’s position state that Key West has already lost a significant portion of its cruise ship business, claiming that the island sees only 700,000 cruise ship passengers annually as opposed to the 1,000,000 it received in 2003.

Key West residents can attend a presentation on Wednesday, held by Citizens for Responsible Tourism, which will explore the dredging referendum in more depth. The organization will discuss the cruise industry’s effect on the local economy and environment, and will open a public forum on Thursday.

Construction workers are subject to all kinds of hazards on the job, not the least of which is toxic substance exposure. The toxic substance need not be exotic and it is not limited to anyone area; in the US 18% of all construction workers suffer to some degree to toxic substance exposure. Although exposure is usually short-term and intermittent because construction workers usually move from job site to job site, it is likely to recur frequently. This is because many of the toxic substances encountered onsite are endemic in a particular construction task such as bricklaying, welding and demolition.

The health consequences are varied, depending on the toxic substance and the amount of exposure. Toxic substance exposure is usually through inhalation of airborne fumes, mists, gases, dusts and vapors, but it can also be through skin contact or through ingestion. Some of the toxic substances one is likely to encounter in a construction site are glues, dry cement, organic solvents and heavy metals in soldering iron. According to the website of New York-based law firm Hach & Rose, LLP, many construction workers are not even aware that they have been exposed to toxic substances until much later when the symptoms appear. In this sort of situation, discussing your case with a construction accident attorney in your area may be a wise legal decision.

The most linked health issues to the construction industry due to toxic substance exposure include:

  • Asbestosis
  • Bronchitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Lead poisoning
  • Lung cancer
  • Neurologic disorders
  • Silicosis

The Code of Federal Regulations tackles the problem of toxic substance exposure under 29 CFR 1926.55 and 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z, but no amount of legislation can prevent construction workers from getting exposed to harmful substances at work if the employer or construction site manager chooses to ignore the regulations. As a result, many construction workers end up with lifelong debilitating health problems and financial difficulties through no fault of their own.

If you or someone close to you incurred health problems due to toxic substance exposure while at a construction site, you could be eligible for a personal injury suit. Consult with a lawyer with a good track record in handling toxic substance exposure cases in the area.

When you feel your heart miss a beat, it may not be because you have found your soul mate. It may mean you have atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibirillation or A-fib is the most common of the arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders. In general, you could go through your whole life with A-fib with no ill-effects, but in some severe cases it increases the risk of stroke. There are many ways to manage the consequences of A-fib, and one of them is through the drug Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate).

Pradaxa is an oral anti-coagulant which is designed to prevent strokes in people with nonvalvular A-fib. It is essentially a blood thinner, so it does not act on the heart itself, but on ensuring that any clotting resulting from the arrhythmia does not escalate into a stroke. Pradaxa replaced warfarin as the anti-coagulant of choice.

The biggest problem with Pradaxa, which is the reason why manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim is now a defendant in a multi-district litigation (MDL) action in Illinois, is that it may be thinning the blood too much that it induces internal bleeding for which there is as yet no solution. An article on the website of New York-based product liability law firm Hach & Rose, LLP, there was not enough research done on the risks associated with Pradaxa and that the lack of an antidote to the bleeding was a serious breach of the duty of care the drug company owed its clients. The administration of Vitamin K, traditionally a counteracting agent to anti-coagulants, does not work with Pradaxa.

Pradaxa was approved for human use by the Food and Drug Administration in the last quarter of 2010 and to date, 542 deaths have been associated with it. More than 1,000 plaintiffs are represented in a pending class action suit (MDL No. 2385) in the Southern District of Illinois.

If you or a family member has been prescribed with Pradaxa and suffered from internal bleeding, you may be eligible to bring a case against Boehringer Ingelheim. Contact a product liability lawyer in your area with experience in handling Pradaxa lawsuits to have your case assessed.

Construction accidents involving falling objects can lead to serious injury, especially if it falls from great heights. The hazards posed by falling objects are not limited to people working on the site; it could also affect people in adjoining and adjacent areas who may merely be passing by or who have business in the area. In one case in New York, a man sitting inside his condominium was killed when a crane crashed into his building and landed in his living room. This is why it is important that construction site managers and owners take safety precautions to protect people from being injured by falling hazards such as placing safety nets, posting warning signs and training workers on safety protocols.

Falling hazards could be as small as a screwdriver or as big as a whole crane. According to the website of law firm Hach & Rose, LLP, failing to take even the most basic safety measures is negligence. Construction companies are mandated by law to implement policies that would ensure the site is as safe as possible for workers and any other people who may be in the area.

Workers need to be instructed to secure all tools and materials, especially when working at height, since a screwdriver plummeting down from 20 stories up can seriously injure or even kill a person at ground level. Operators of cranes and other lifting machinery need to make sure that the loads they are carrying are secure and stable. Supervisors need to ensure that equipment such as cranes and scaffolding are in good working order and safe to use, especially in areas where there are other people around who may not be aware of the potential falling hazards looming above them.

Those who are victims of falling hazards-related construction accidents may have legal recourse to get compensation for their injuries and attendant costs. It is important to engage an attorney experienced in dealing with falling hazards injury cases in construction accidents.