Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Danville Personal Injury Law Blog

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Nuclear safety fears at top national laboratory

Virginia laboratory workers might be concerned about safety on the job after hearing about problems at one of the country's premier nuclear weapons facilities. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, which created the atomic bomb, is facing growing criticism for its safety record.

The Center for Public Integrity has highlighted federal regulators' worries about the safety situation at the lab over time. Incidents have included spilled plutonium and mispositioned plutonium rods that could cause a serious disaster. However, officials at the lab have highlighted the facility's positive external reviews and strong security.

Many motorcycle crashes are the result of other drivers' mistakes

Getting on the open road with a motor vehicle poses some threats to your health and well-being. Even those in larger, enclosed vehicles understand that risk. When you ride a motorcycle, the potential for very serious, even fatal, injuries, exists.

Motorcycle drivers are much more likely to experience a fatal crash than those in enclosed vehicles. Motorcycle riders can also sustain very serious injuries, even if they are wearing protective gear and being careful. According to 2015 statistics, motorcycle crashes made up only 1.6 percent of annual VA crashes but 9.3 percent of traffic fatalities and 2.7 percent of injuries.

Engine vapors pose hazard to oil and gas workers

Mixing non-intrinsically safe motors and engines with flammable gases or vapors could have catastrophic consequences, and workers in the oil and gas industry in Virginia and other states across the nation may want to take note. Between 2005 and 2015, the ignition hazard posed by vehicles and motorized equipment used in proximity to flammable vapor sources such as wellbores, flowback tanks, production tanks and frac tanks resulted in 85 deaths, according to industry officials. This tally includes 27 fatalities that occurred in connection with the use of mobile engines and auxiliary motors.

In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health,and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network have issued a hazard alert. The alert focuses on preventive measures and engineering controls and contains points intended for review with employees.

Federal rule aims to curb danger of improper trucker training

Following a five-month delay, new federal regulations that will impact the training of new truckers in Virginia and nationwide are going into effect. The implementation of the training rule was delayed due to reviews of the regulation by the Trump administration.

Despite the new rule, carriers and trainers will have three years to implement it; the rule will apply to all applicants for commercial drivers' licenses (CDL) who receive their licenses on or after February 7, 2020. The rule attempts to address a problem of inexperienced truck drivers on the road by setting new standards for training.

Apple to unveil new anti-distracted driving software: Is it enough?

After spending years talking about its commitment to reducing distracted driving, smartphone manufacturer Apple earlier this month unveiled an enhanced "do not disturb" mode in its upcoming iPhone operating system.

The new do not disturb mode, due for release this fall, will be able to automatically sense when you are in a moving vehicle and then shut off all incoming notifications. The system will also reply to incoming texts with an automated message stating that the recipient is behind the wheel and unavailable.

How to reduce injury risk while lifting

It isn't uncommon for Virginia workers to be required to lift or carry objects as part of their job duties. However, it is imperative that employers and workers make safe lifting a shared priority. Employers should opt for mechanized lifting whenever possible, and workers should opt for mechanized lifting devices when objects are too heavy to lift or carry on their own.

Objects should be within easy reach of anyone who needs to lift or move them. Anyone who is lifting or moving an item should not do so unless it is possible to get a good grip on it. If something is too heavy or awkward to move, it is a good idea to ask for assistance from a manager or coworker. The best way for people to lift something is by crouching and then straightening their legs, rather than by bending over and then straightening their back.

Syncope could increase injury risk

Workers in Virginia who deal with syncope may face a greater risk of workplace accidents, according to the American Heart Association. Syncope is a condition in which a person experiences fainting spells. Workplace incidents related to the condition could increase the risk of job loss. Specifically, syncope sufferers were 1.4 times more likely to experience a worksite accident and twice as likely to lose their jobs.

This was according to a 2008 to 2012 data set that included 3.4 million Americans aged 18 to 64. Researchers also found that younger workers who had syncope and another condition such as depression or were lower on the socioeconomic scale were even more vulnerable. Manual laborers were most likely to experience injuries such as internal bleeding, fractures and amputations.

Construction workers worry about their safety

Those who work in the construction industry in Virginia and throughout America may not be confident about their safety in the workplace. According to a study from the National Safety Council, 58 percent of respondents said that their safety comes second to getting the job done. Furthermore, 47 percent said that employees are afraid to report safety issues to management, and 51 percent of respondents said that management only does the bare minimum when it comes to safety.

The survey also found that 32 percent of respondents said that managers ignore an employee's safety record when determining who gets promoted. Nearly 50 percent said that safety meetings were not held as often as they should have been. In addition, 67 percent said that standards were high for job performance than for safety.

Regulators issue safety reminders after power line accident

Running heavy equipment or making installations near power lines in Virginia presents workers with electrocution and fire hazards. After a tractor-trailer dumped a load of gravel near a power line and broke a ground wire holding a pole, the Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a "close call alert" outlining best practices when working near electrical transmission lines.

Although no one was injured in the accident, the deadly potential was clear when the 13,800-volt wires arced and tripped the power. To avoid such disasters, the agency emphasized the need to shut down power to lines when workers run equipment within 10 feet of power lines. Safety also begins with an assessment of the work area. Workers should know the exact location of power lines and make a plan to avoid coming in contact with them. Regulators recommend communicating with the local utility before starting work.