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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

How to safely share the road with truckers

Truckers have the difficult job of navigating roads and freeways in a vehicle much larger than the average car. While they have their own safety standards and requirements, it is also important that other drivers share the responsibility of keeping the road safe.

An accident with a large truck can be devastating and deadly for a small car or motorcycle. Rather than face the injuries that may come from a serious accident, we have a few tips to help you stay safe on the road with truckers.

Lawsuit leads to massive recall of Dodge trucks

North Carolina motorists who own certain Dodge Ram models should watch out for recall notices. The manufacturer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, has initiated a recall of over 1.25 million pickup trucks because of a software error that could disable side air bags or interfere with seat belt functions.

The company discovered the problem after launching an investigation when a lawsuit claimed that a defective system prevented airbag deployment during the rollover crash of a 2014 model Dodge Ram 1500. As a result, the automaker chose to recall over 1 million Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500 trucks from model years 2013 through 2016. Owners of Dodge Ram 3500 trucks in the United States from model years 2014 through 2016 should expect recall notices as well.

Best practices for working near power lines

When there is a serious accident or injury in a North Carolina workplace, a federal agency might step in to ensure the work site is safe. A "close call alert" was issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration when a tractor-trailer made contact with a ground wire overhead. According to the alert, the accident occurred because the truck failed to maintain recommended clearance.

The agency issued a list of best practices for safety. One was that when equipment is operated near high-voltage power lines, awareness of their location and caution about avoiding contact is important. Operators should be mindful of the height of equipment. However, those lines should also be de-energized.

More robots in the workplace could mean more accidents

The use of robots in the workplace is on the rise, but this also means that employees in North Carolina and throughout the country are more vulnerable to injuries caused by them. Restaurant kitchens, food processing plants and hospitals are among the environments where robots may be found. The automotive industry also uses a large number of robots, some of them custom built. One Wisconsin production plan that builds robotic systems also has more than 50 robots on the floor.

Workers receive training about safety around robots, but experts say it is unlikely that the risk of injury could be reduced to zero. The issue is that most accidents occur during troubleshooting. However, in many cases, it is not possible to repair the robot if it is turned off. This leaves the person who is programming or repairing the robot vulnerable to injury. Robot manufacturers do extensive safety testing and training along with risk assessments in an effort to minimize accidents. However, automotive companies may also require a third-party safety evaluation because they are responsible for the safe operation of the robots.

What should you do immediately after a car accident?

Car accidents range in severity from minor fender benders or parking lot accidents to tragic collisions that cause serious injury or even death. Oftentimes, having an accurate record of what happened when the accident occurred can protect you if you suffered injury at the hands of another.

If you were in a car accident that was not your fault, there are a few necessary steps you must take. While the other driver may try to convince you that it is not important to call the police or file a report, you should trust your own experience and knowledge any time an accident occurs.

How to keep remote workers safe

Some North Carolina employees work in remote areas with minimal or no supervision. While many crane operators or electricians may be highly trained and skilled at their craft, it is generally a good idea for employers to have a safety plan. For most workers, this may involve checking in with supervisors or others to talk about potential hazards or otherwise confirm that all is well on the remote job site.

Employers should make employee safety a priority because they could be cited by OSHA for failing to have a safety plan. Ideally, companies will train workers to take time to review a job site for hazards. If a hazard is found, employees should further assess the situation or ask for help before proceeding. Employers should also document their safety plan even if they rely on or trust their workers to stay safe on their own.

Preventing lead exposure at work

Some North Carolina workers may still be facing lead exposure in the workplace despite increased awareness about its dangers. The California Department of Public Health found that between 2012 and 2014, by the definition of the Centesr for Disease Control and Prevention, over 6,000 workers in that state had elevated blood levels of lead. This suggests that workers throughout the country might show similar levels of exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Association has estimated that more than 800,000 workers in general industry and a further 838,000 construction workers may face lead exposure. Jobs that leave workers particularly vulnerable to lead exposure include building renovation, metal production, plumbing, radiator repair, demolition, bridge work and battery manufacturing.

Companies can take a number of steps to protect workers from lead exposure. They can test their employees' blood levels and the air for lead, provide protection, and give workers a place to shower and change after each shift. Employers can also inform workers of risks, provide training, and develop ways of controlling lead dust and fumes.

How to handle road rage safely

There are numerous sources for anger and frustration while driving, such as slow-moving traffic. Some drivers do not handle these stressors well, nor their subsequent emotions. In fact, close to 80 percent of drivers show some degree of road rage at least once a year, reports AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Road rage includes minor behaviors such as obscene gestures to major dangers such as threats. Regardless of the level of aggression, any of these behaviors pose a risk to your safety. Therefore, it is best to respond to road rage as follows to avoid getting into an accident with the reckless driver or anyone else in the vicinity.

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