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Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Construction worker killed by tractor-trailer on I-95

Construction zones present many dangers to the people working in them. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2010, there were 576 fatalities because of work zone crashes. That amounts to one fatality every 15 hours.

On June 25, at about 1:30 a.m., a 62-year-old construction worker was killed on I-95 near Beltzville, Maryland. According to a captain with the Maryland State Police, a tractor-trailer crashed into the work zone site after it didn't "follow a bend in the road." The contractors that were working had all the right safety equipment where it was supposed to be.

How an attorney can facilitate your workers' compensation claim

Injured workers located in the Monroe County area turn to an attorney for help with a workers' comp claim. Many reasons exist for choosing such an approach, each one unique to the injured person. Those dealing with workers' compensation for the first time often do not know if they need an attorney when moving forward with a claim. This blog post can answer some questions injured Pennsylvania workers might have about workers' comp while explaining how an attorney can help.

In an ideal situation, filing a claim is simple. Many employers keep incident reports and workers' compensation claim forms on hand for employees and some employers even help claimants complete the required paperwork. However, not all situations are ideal, meaning employees might face hardships while attempting to make a claim.

Skin dangers in the Moneroe County workplace

Some Lehigh Valley workers may worry about damage caused by breathing in toxic substances while on the job. Hazardous chemicals and other poisonous materials have several ways to enter the body, including through an employee's skin. Estimates state over 13 million U.S. workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals that cause occupational skin diseases or systemic harm.

You don't have to be working in a laboratory to contract a skin disease or condition caused by toxic exposure. Cosmetologists, farmhands, food service employees and construction workers are among the victims of workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals.

2013 Pennsylvania occupational injuries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 178 people lost their lives due to occupational injuries in 2013. Seventy-six of those fatalities were due to transportation incidents. Another 31 fatalities were due to contact with equipment and objects.

The number of fatalities due to transportation incidents is actually expected to rise for 2013 when other documentation is received. Even so, the two causes listed above account for 57 percent of Pennsylvania workplace accidents. Fall, slips or trips accounted for another 25 deaths.

Pennsylvania drunk driving accident facts

Drunk driving accidents occur all over the United States and unfortunately Pennsylvania is no exception. While lawmakers continue to work on improving the laws for driving under the influence, it offers no consolation to those who have experienced DUI accidents first hand. To help raise awareness about alcohol-related accidents in the state of Pennsylvania, here are some fast facts about driving while intoxicated.

Five-year trends: From 2009 through 2013, alcohol-related car crashes in Pennsylvania have decreased; however, the figures (listed below) are still staggering.

Study: Lack of sleep could be a major cause of workplace accidents

National Public Radio recently gave three examples of where sleep deprivation is thought to be the cause of a serious accident: the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the Exxon Valdez tanker spill, and Civil War general Stonewall Jackson's ill-starred 1862 campaigns.

Not all accidents bring such devastating results, of course, but we all want to reduce workplace injuries. Besides carefully following OSHA guidelines, though, what can we do?

The answer may be as simple as ensuring we all get enough sleep.

How much could sleep deprivation affect our decision-making abilities?

The effects of sleep deprivation are surprisingly acute, if a recent study is any gauge. In the study, which was published in the journal "Sleep," the sleep-deprived volunteers did shockingly badly on a decision-making test. How badly? They got the answer wrong every time -- even given 40 attempts.

Google cars follow all traffic laws to a 'T'. Is that a problem?

Let's be frank: It's not only other people who break traffic laws. When there are no cops around, we all decide which traffic laws really have to be followed. When it comes to other people ... well. We have pet peeves about slow-crossing pedestrians, motorcyclists who split lanes on the expressway, drivers who try to stop bikers from splitting lanes -- there are a million of them.

Yet even supposing every single driver was committed to following every traffic law all the time, we'd never be able to remember all the various state and local traffic laws. We're not robots, right?

Toxic chemical exposure can be deadly, but safety can be managed

Most of us don't know exactly what hazards might be lurking in the workplace, especially if we don't work in an industrial setting. It's true that manufacturing jobs can be dangerous, as they often involve exposure to chemicals, high-powered machinery, gases, oily floors and extreme noise and heat. If you've read the New York Times recently, however, you may know that hazardous chemicals like toluene and formaldehyde are present in dangerous levels in a wide variety of industries, including nail salons.

Whether you work in a salon, restaurant, hospital, construction site or factory, you could be exposed to toxic chemicals in your workplace. OSHA requires your employer to assess the risk and take all reasonable steps to keep you safe. 

Family matters: Age and driving ability

Getting older does not make you a bad driver, but changes in the ability to drive safely can. Pennsylvania drivers want to hang onto their driving privileges as long as possible to retain the independence that a vehicle provides.

Family members frequently hesitate to broach the subject of driving with an older relative, knowing that it could cause the person to become defensive. The conversation often fizzles and only comes up again when the relative's driving behavior becomes risky or there is a car accident.

Truck drivers' hours of service are limited for good reason

Multiple studies in recent years have shown that drowsy driving is a major cause of auto accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that at least 100,000 crashes each year result directly from driver fatigue.

While all drivers should avoid drowsy driving, the risk of a serious accident may be significantly higher when a truck or bus driver is sleepy while behind the wheel. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, regulates truck and bus drivers' hours of service and requires those drivers to log their hours.

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