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Work-Related Car Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes kill more U.S. workers than any other workplace hazard, injury or illness.

Yet many of these accidents are preventable, as research by U.S. Centers for Disease Control's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows.

In one study, which examined deadly accidents that occurred between 1007 and 2002, NIOSH found that fatally injured workers were not wearing a seat belt or had no seat belt available in their vehicle.

Many of the deadly accidents occurred because the driver ran off the road off the road or veered into another lane (46 percent), was speeding or driving too fast for conditions (23 percent), was not paying attention (11 percent), or was tired (7 percent).

Preventing Deadly Crashes

Aside from encouraging employees to drive safely, what can employers do to prevent deadly work-related car accidents? Quite a bit, actually.

NIOSH has issued two fact sheets that evaluate workers' risks for being involved in car crashes and offer tips for preventing deadly crashes. Driver safety can go a long way toward prevention, according to NIOSH. The agency recommends that employers' driving safety program.

Employers Should:

  1. Assign a key member of management to create and enforce a comprehensive driver safety policy

  2. Require that all employees use seatbelts while driving or riding in a vehicle on the job

  3. Select company vehicles that meet high safety and crash-test standards

  4. Maintain complete and accurate records of driving performance.

  5. Remind employees that driving requires full attention, meaning that drivers talk on their cell phones while driving or participate in any other distracting activities.

  6. Set schedules that allow employees adequate time for deliveries or client visits

  7. Ensure that employees are properly licensed and trained to operate the vehicle they are assigned.

  8. Implement a vehicle maintenance program that includes pre-trip inspections, immediate withdrawal from service of any vehicle with mechanical defects, and regularly scheduled withdrawal of vehicles for comprehensive inspection and maintenance.

"Work-Related Roadway Crashes: Who's at Risk?" NIOSH safety tipsheets are available online. > downlaod here


Simple Safety Measures Can Protect Young Workers from Injuries

As summer approaches, many college students will be applying for part-time jobs and internships.

While they're earning money and gaining experience, young workers face the risk of being injured on the job. In fact, some research has shown that inexperienced workers are more likely to be injured than veteran workers.

Employers have an obligated to protect employees from harm and to train them on workplace safety measures. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division, provides an assist with a its "Young Workers' Brochure."

It's packed with safety tips and prevention measures that could save young lives this summer.

Be ready for accidents and emergencies:

  • Know where the first-aid kit is located in your work area.
  • Do not respond to an accident unless you are trained in first aid. If you are not trained to respond, know who the designated emergency responder is in your work area.
  • Report any injury to a supervisor immediately.
  • Know where the emergency exits are in your work area. Prevent cuts and lacerations:
  • If you're handling a knife, always cut away from the body.
  • If you do receive a cut, get first aid. All surfaces where blood may have spilled should be properly cleaned to protect you and others from blood-borne diseases.


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This roundup of headlines from across the nation provides a snapshot of what's happening with
workers' compensation in the United States.

SC Workers' Compensation Commission
Source: The Associated Press

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's nominees to the Workers' Compensation Commission say they would follow what the law requires and not bow to executive orders issued by a governor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Avery Wilkerson for a six-year term and Andrea Roche as the commission's chair and sent their nominations to the Senate floor. Both said during their confirmation hearings that executive orders do not trump state law. > View Article

Benefits Denied for Officers' Kin, Stirring Criticism
Source: The New York Times

When they were chased down and killed a year ago by a distraught gunman in Greenwich Village, Nicholas T. Pekearo and Yevgeniy Marshalik became heroic symbols of New York City's auxiliary police, an unheralded force of volunteer officers who are trained, uniformed and authorized to patrol the city's streets, but not to carry guns.

But when their families applied for federal benefits for police officers killed in the line of duty, they were told they did not qualify because the two did not have arrest powers, officials said on Monday. > View Article

More states implement workers comp treatment guidelines
Source: Arkansas Democrat Gazette

The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission unfairly denied disability benefits to a Home Depot worker who aggravated a pre-existing back condition at work. Jonathan Jordan suffered a back injury at work Sept. 27, 2003, trying to install a rack while on a ladder. The next day he reported the injury and was diagnosed with a back strain at an emergency room.
> View Article

We Had To Fight the System
Source: Caspar Star-Tribune

Jerry Burgess's first experience with Wyoming's workers' compensation program was in 1995, when he suffered a hernia from lifting 80-pound sacks of oats at Farmers' Co-op in Sheridan. He went to a doctor for treatment and filed a claim. Workers' compensation paid.

But something else was happening to Burgess's body, inside his bones. He was suffering severe headaches, and his blood was high in iron. He sought a diagnosis in 2000. A core sample of his hip bone confirmed he suffered from myelodysplastic anemia -- bone cancer... Burgess's condition wasn't considered work-related. He had spent some 15 years driving a fuel truck at Farmers' Co-op.

Hair follicle samples indicated a high level of benzene in Burgess's body. The family believed that he had absorbed and retained benzenes from frequent exposure to gasoline fumes without a respirator. > View Article

About the Statute of Limitations

If you are not a client and need legal advice or would like to discuss representation, please contact one of our attorneys to discuss your individual questions. We only provide legal advice to people who have signed a written agreement retaining our legal services. If you want to pursue a claim, you should not delay in hiring a lawyer. Please be advised that each state has a different statute of limitations within which suit must be filed. If you fail to timely file suit within your state's statute of limitations you may be forever barred from later bringing a claim.

We offer this information as a public service to those interested in Workers Compensation news. This newsletter is not legal advice and should only be considered as general information.

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