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San Jose Personal Injury Law Blog

Fatigue-related accidents may be reduced with new technology

California drivers may be interested to learn that newer technologies are making driving safer. Companies such as Volvo and BMW are introducing devices that help detect when a driver may be getting drowsy and alert the motorist to that possibility.

While it is difficult to measure fatigue as a factor in car accidents due in part to the fact that there is no test for drowsiness as there is for drunk driving, it is estimated that at least 7,500 fatal accidents each year have fatigue as a factor. It was considered one likely cause of the 2014 accident that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another passenger in his limousine. The truck driver who hit them had been awake for 28 hours.

Several workers hurt after job site gas explosion

California residents may be following the story of a gas explosion that injured three people at a Bronx high school. Workers were installing a new science lab when the accident took place at about 8 p.m. on Aug. 20. The accident occurred when a worker used a lit match to see if gas was going through the line as designed.

There were seven workers from a construction company at the school at the time of the accident. Three of the workers had serious burn injuries, and all seven were taken to area hospitals. The explosion caused damage to the 4th, 5th and 6th floor of the school with the 6th floor suffering the most damage.

OSHA updates directive targeting amputation injuries

Workers in manufacturing and other industries in California and throughout the United States will receive additional support in the prevention of certain types of serious workplace injuries. Specifically, the Occupational Safety Health Agency has recently issued an updated version of its National Emphasis Program directive on amputations.

OSHA's directive calls on employers to better identify and work to eliminate serious hazards in the workplace. The directive targets general industry workplaces where machinery is present that is likely to cause amputations. These industries include machine shops, bakeries, sawmills, meat processing plants and other manufacturers of food products. Data reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate these industries have the highest rates of amputations among workers.

New technology could make trains safer in California

Although railroad companies are required to upgrade safety technology by the end of 2015, only three companies have filed formal plans to do so. The new technology upgrades are to involve positive train control, which is designed to automatically slow or stop trains when necessary via GPS as well as radio and computer software. Advocates hope that the technology can help prevent accidents due to trains traveling at unsafe speeds or into areas where crews may be working.

One such advocate is the National Transportation Safety Board, which has lobbied for such technology for more than 40 years. It believes that PTC would have prevented 145 crashes, which would have saved 300 lives and avoided 6,700 injuries. However, some railroad companies say that they have experienced unanticipated problems that have made it difficult to comply with the new rules.

3 mining deaths in a single day prompt government action

California workers may be interested in a series of mining industry fatalities that occurred in a single day across the country. These deaths have prompted one government agency to step up its enforcement and education activities in order to prevent further harm.

On Aug. 3, three mine workers in three different states were killed in workplace accidents. One work accident victim, an 18-year-old at a Virginia quarry, was buried beneath tons of stone and sand when a silo on the job site collapsed. The other incidents took place in South Dakota and Nevada. This is the first time that this many incidents have occurred on a single day since 2002.

Dump truck accident kills 1, road closures

California residents may have read the national news reports about a person who was killed after a dump truck slammed into an overpass in New Jersey on Aug. 4. According to a state police captain, the truck was traveling on the New Jersey turnpike when it collided with the Wood Avenue overpass at about 10:30 a.m.

The crash occurred in the southbound lanes of the turnpike. The truck overturned and its driver was killed. The accident also caused a fire to ignite, and authorities closed both lanes of the turnpike until it could be determined if the overpass's stability had been compromised. Additionally, gas and power lines were also compromised. The traffic reportedly became backed up for miles and some of the lanes were expected to be closed until midnight.

Some facts about cargo tank rollover accidents

California drivers should always be aware of large trucks on the road, especially those transporting liquid loads. These vehicles are subject to special hazards the general public may be unaware of, and they are the topic of several myths about the conditions that can give rise to an accident. Understanding these myths and the actual causes of cargo tank rollovers can perhaps help to reduce the incidence of these accidents.

Contrary to popular belief, cargo tank rollover accidents are not commonly associated with speeding, nighttime driving, unsafe road conditions or lack of experience behind the wheel. Statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration based on 2007 data reveal that most of these accidents occur during the day, on exit or on-ramps and straight roads, with commercial drivers who have more than 10 years of experience. Speeding is a factor in only about 28 percent of all cargo tank rollover accidents.

Alcohol may have caused crash responsible for 4 deaths

An outing among friends turned tragic on July 18 as four of eight women in a limousine were killed when the vehicle collided with a pickup truck. California residents may have heard about this accident that took place in Long Island, and the Suffolk County District Attorney said the crash may have happened because the driver of the truck had consumed alcohol earlier in the day.

The accident occurred when the pickup slammed into the limo that was attempting to turn at an intersection by making a legal U-turn, and the speed of both vehicles is currently unknown. Both drivers suffered injuries, and the four women who survived the crash all reportedly received serious injuries. The district attorney commented that the women in their early 20s did the right thing by hiring a limo since they were touring a winery, and a chemical test revealed that the limo driver had no alcohol in his system.

Fall protection standards for iron workers

Iron workers in California perform some of the nation's most dangerous jobs. While doing construction work on multi-story buildings, these professionals are at a great risk of falling. To protect them from workplace injuries and deaths, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has fall protection standards that must be followed by employers.

OSHA standards for fall protection apply to all workers who perform tasks at least 15 feet above ground level. These workers must be protected with guardrails, safety nets, fall restraints, positioning devices and personal fall arrest systems. Despite these requirements, OSHA regularly cites construction employers for fall protection violations, and falls are among the leading causes of death and injury on construction sites. While employers are obligated to follow OSHA guidelines at a minimum, they are also advised to recognize hazards and develop their own policies for maintaining worker safety.

The importance of hazmat containment

Employees in California may benefit from learning more about the issues associated with emergency response, hazmat identification and control. One of the most critical tasks to complete in a catastrophic accident involving hazardous materials is to determine the chemical compounds involved in the incident. Addressing errors in the chain-of-custody process may be one of the most effective strategies for improving how these accidents are managed. Railcars, tankers, containers and trailers are all significantly affected by the integrity of the controls within the global supply chain.

Current technology can help enterprises deploy hazmat railcars, containers and trailers that are equipped with container security devices, or CSDs. Making these conveyances and containers smart with more recent tech applications can help provide more precise evidence about details concerning the contents or the shipping. The evidence is often accessible by using an app on a smartphone or another similar device.

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John J. Garvey III

Attorney John J. Garvey, III

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