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Huntsville Personal Injury Law Blog

Common causes of workplace injuries

Even with strong safety regulation in place, workplace injuries often occur in Alabama and around the country. The most common causes of workplace injuries are preventable if measures to prevent the causes are put in place and followed by employers and employees.

Too many workers are either driven to work too long by their employers or by themselves, leading them to be fatigued. Fatigue, in turn, can lead to poor decision-making, delayed responses and slower reflexes when operating machinery, and thus can cause resulting injuries. Similarly, a person who is dealing with a lot of stress may be distracted and make errors that can then result in injury.

Private industry employers reported 3 million injuries in 2013

On Dec. 4, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that more than 3 million workers became ill or were injured in the private sector in 2013. This figure, which is fewer than that recorded in 2012, was reported from employers in the private industries through the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Employees in Alabama might be surprised that the number of illness and injury cases in this industry is fewer than those reported in combined government industries.

The number of total private industry cases in 2013 meant that 3.3 cases of every 100 full-time employees suffered occupational illnesses and injuries. This followed the downward trend of the previous 11 years, except for 2012. Along with the decline in total cases, there was a reduction in the rate of serious cases that involved workers taking time off work, being restricted in their work or transferring jobs, which represented the first decrease since 2009.

The use of roundabouts to improve traffic safety

Roundabouts are circular intersections that create low-speed traffic environments by reducing the potential for conflict and that improve operational performance and safety, according to the U.S Department of Transportation. The Highway Safety Manual reports that roundabouts are 44-percent safer than two-way stop intersections and 48-percent safer than signalized intersections.

In the United States, there are about 300,000 signalized intersections, and around one-third of intersection deaths occur in auto collisions at those intersections, authorities claim. This means that 2,300 people die every year as a result of intersection crashes, with approximately 700 of those fatalities due to drivers running a red light.

What is a spinal cord injury?

When someone in Alabama suffers an injury to their back or neck, they may have suffered a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that transports messages from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. Depending on where the damage occurs, an injured person could lose the ability to walk or use their arms.

An injury to the spinal cord can have many causes. In many cases, a person's spinal cord may become damaged if the person suffers a traumatic neck, head, face or back injury. These types of injuries often occur in car accidents. A spinal cord injury may also occur if a person experiences extreme twisting in their torso or lands on their head while diving or playing sports.

What is asbestos?

Alabama residents may be wondering what asbestos is and how might know if they have been exposed to it. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with strong fire-resistant properties. However, it has been discovered to be very harmful to human beings. This discovery was made after decades of enthusiastic industrial and constructions application around America, so the rate of asbestos exposure in the country is high. It is even higher in certain professions that made common use of the substance.

The mineral is found in two major forms that have been useful to industry. These are chrysotile, or white asbestos, and the blue crocidolite asbestos. The mineral is noted for its fibrous composition. Asbestos has a high tensile strength and extremely limited properties of heat conduction. It also resists chemical degradation and corrosion. It is used in a wide variety of products and buildings as it is an excellent insulator and fire retardant, and it may be found in consumer products from roof shingles to brake pads.

Workplace electrical accident trends

Workers in Alabama may be interested in a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the report, the agency looked at electrical accident data from1992 to 2010. The report revealed some good news in regards to the incidence of workplace electrical accidents and injuries and fatalities suffered because of such incidents.

Over the period, the annual percentage of fatal accidents decreased by 50 percent. The period from 2006 and 2010 accounted for a majority of the decrease; there was a 30 percent reduction in that 5-year span. Nonfatal electrical accidents causing injury decreased even more, declining 60 percent over the period of the study.

Avoiding a rollover accident

Alabama residents may be surprised to learn just how dangerous rollover accidents can be. While only three percent of serious accidents involve a vehicle rolling over, the occupants of these cars and light trucks account for 30 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities. Experts say that these statistics could be reduced by up to 50 percent if seat belts were more widely used and safety regulations were tightened.

Popular vehicles with high ground clearance such as pickup trucks or SUVs are more prone to this kind of motor vehicle accident, but even a sports car can roll over in certain situations. These accidents are often caused by tipping. This occurs when a vehicle strikes a curb or other object while moving laterally through a corner or bend. While quality tires may improve handling and safety in most situations, high levels of grip can actually increase the chances of a rollover.

Emergency plans required for workers' safety

Alabama workers know that planning for an emergency may make a considerable difference in terms of reducing the number and severity of injuries. Executing the plan properly requires collaboration between employees and management to structure and implement a workable emergency action plan.

Generally, a workplace evaluation is done to determine what type of emergencies may occur. This evaluation should include fire prevention, types of warning mechanisms and a strategy for evacuation, including a review of fire extinguishing systems, exit plans and employee alarm systems. Incorporating this information allows the team to structure a workable emergency plan.

Murder trial begins in traffic death of college student

A former Alabama high school championship softball player was killed in 2012 by a woman suspected of driving while impaired in a drug-related traffic accident on Highway 53. The trial of the woman accused of killing the 24-year-old college student is currently underway.

The defendant is charged with murder in the case. The indictment indicates she was under the influence of multiple drugs when the crash happened. The auto accident happened near Harvest Road on Highway 53 on Dec. 29, 2012, when the defendant's southbound vehicle reportedly crossed into the northbound lanes and struck the victim's car, killing her. The defendant suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

What are the consequences of a traumatic brain injury?

Families of Alabama accident victims may have concerns about the changes they should expect from their loved ones' traumatic brain injuries. Complications arising from TBIs tend to correlate to the severity of the victim's injury.

Some TBI victims experience persistent issues with processes that involve thinking ahead to the future, such as planning or organizing. They sometimes have trouble focusing on information presented to them or on completing tasks without being reminded. Difficulty solving problems or making decisions is also common. Victims may also have trouble retaining or processing information, and they may experience memory loss.