Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Danville Personal Injury Law Blog

Operation Safe Driver Week slated for July

Virginia truck drivers should be on the alert in mid-July. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 15-21. During the initiative, participating law enforcement officers will be on the patrol for commercial and passenger vehicle drivers who are exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 93 percent of passenger vehicle crashes in the United States are caused by driver error or negligence. Meanwhile, 88 percent of large truck crashes are also blamed on driver behavior. In response to this data, the CVSA created the Operation Safe Driver Program to reduce driver-related motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Training and safety strategies reduce risks for warehouse workers

Warehouses in Virginia have become busy workplaces as more retail shopping shifts to online outlets. Workers must store and move large amounts of inventory, often in close quarters. Boxes on high shelves, forklifts and slippery floors routinely create workplace hazards. Warehouse managers have the ability to reduce the chances of accidents by training workers and installing barriers and automation equipment designed to protect people from injury and potential death.

Awareness training represents an important first step so that employees will understand the dangers in the work environment and how to use equipment properly. Training programs include information about how to stack boxes to prevent them from falling on people. Those who work on platforms also need to understand how to use fall prevention gear and observe safety regulations.

Motorcycle crashes carry a very high risk of injury or death

We all understand that there is a risk inherent to traveling on motor vehicles. That risk level increases if the vehicle in question, like a motorcycle, does not offer any physical protection from impact. Even those who take great care to drive safely, maintain their motorcycle properly, and wear appropriate safety gear face a serious risk of injury or even death due to their choice in vehicle.

People enjoy motorcycles for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps you have an antique bike that you maintain with loving precision. Maybe you enjoy the rusk you get with the wind whipping around you as you drive. Some people even choose them to reduce their overall gas consumption. Whatever your motivation, you should take care to be as safe as possible. Your overall risk for injury is much higher than that of people in enclosed vehicles.

Five tips to keep workers safe

On-the-job injuries are all too common in Virginia, especially in fast-paced work environments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that approximately 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries every day. When both employers and employees neglect to enforce safety guidelines, injury rates increase, which causes more workers' compensation costs and medical expenses. Productivity goes down as does employee morale and retention.

Ultimately, an unsafe workplace can lead to a negative perspective of the company and weaker employer branding. Only a safety-minded culture can remedy the situation. Employers, site managers and safety coaches will want to consider the following five tips that can help them achieve this goal.

OSHA's chemical exposure rules may be inadequate

According to some safety advocates, regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fall short of what is necessary to protect workers in Virginia. Since the creation of the agency, OSHA has created only about 30 guidelines for chemical exposures on top of the original 470 rules inherited from industry standards in the 1960s. The agency must overcome significant hurdles to establish even one chemical exposure limit. Studies that involve dozens of researchers and millions of dollars must take place to gather data proving a chemical is dangerous.

Critics call this the "body in the morgue" approach because the law views workplace chemicals as safe until proven otherwise. The complicated and costly process of developing new rules impedes workplace protections. In the past two decades, the agency has issued new regulations for just three chemicals. The current administration appears intent on further reducing the ability of regulatory agencies to determine safe-handling procedures for chemicals.

The pros and cons of truck accident settlements

Virginia truck accident victims the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company if they believe that negligence was to blame for the accident. Going through the civil court system can cost victims a lot of time and money, though, which is why they often strive for a settlement out of court.

Settlements can be reached through alternative dispute resolution methods like negotiations, mediation, and arbitration. Both parties will be able to hold confidential discussions where they candidly but peaceably speak about the facts of the accident, who they believe is responsible, and how much the potential settlement should be. Neither party makes any admission of guilt. The main difference between the methods is that negotiation and mediation are non-binding, whereas arbitration usually is.

Electronic logging may reduce exhausted commercial driving

For the people who drive commercial trucks and transport goods and materials all over this country, there is always a deadline to worry about. Professional truck drivers must follow strict schedules to ensure their cargo reaches its destination on time. In the case of perishable items, such as produce, milk or even beer, those deadlines are even more critical.

Trucking companies try to encourage drivers to get every shipment where it needs to be on time. They may do this in a number of ways, such as writing up or penalizing those who don't arrive on time or offering bonuses for those who consistently deliver as scheduled. That, in turn, could create an incentive for drivers to speed or violate the limits on how long they can legally drive.

Company aims to help drivers stay safe

More than 70 percent of goods moved through Virginia and other states are transported by truck. A company called BlyncSync is looking to make the job of being a trucker safer for all involved. There are about seven million people who are employed by the trucking industry with about half of those employed as drivers. They can work up to 70 hours a week, and there are at least 100,000 crashes per year attributed to sleep-deprived truckers.

BlyncSync says that its goal is to create ways to make drivers better and to help them develop better relationships with dispatchers. The company also says that it will create a variety of products such as smart hard hats or other products that can capture biometric information. The company says that it is starting with a smart glass product that measures blink rate and other variables that can predict if a truck driver is tired.

For now, self-driving cars prone to human error

Car accidents have led to serious and catastrophic injuries for far too many people in Virginia, which is a major reason for the appeal of automated vehicle technologies. However, some high-profile accidents and mishaps involving self-driving cars and other automated technologies have raised concerns about the safety of the vehicles. In particular, questions have been raised about susceptibility to hacking and other interference as well as mechanical errors and software bugs.

All of these issues reflect what one professor identifies as a significant underlying problem with autonomous vehicle development: namely, the involvement of humans. Most of the major corporations working to develop self-driving cars, including Google and Uber, seek to maximize the human-like experience of driving in an autonomous vehicle. However, human driving is a fundamentally flawed experience that often leads to car accidents. The Arizona State University engineering professor argues that automated vehicles can actually use different technologies that are less human-like but actually maximize safety and performance.

About pinch points

Virginia workers who work near machinery have to be wary of pinch points. According to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a pinch point is a point at which a person or some part of their body can be wedged between the movable parts of a machine. A pinch point can also result in a person being caught between the stationary and movable pieces of a machine or between any parts of a machine and material.

Pinch points can occur in a wide range of devices and machines. These include conveyors, plastic molding machinery, powered doors, hatches robotic machines, powered rollers and power transmission equipment. People who work with or near metal-forming machines, covers, power presses, printing presses and assembling machines are also in danger of being caught in a pinch point.

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