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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety incidents at nuclear sites raise concern

Reports of dangerous safety lapses at a major nuclear laboratory might be of interest to North Carolina workers. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of one of the country's most advanced nuclear programs and the place where the atomic bomb was developed, has had a number of safety incidents in the past several years that carried the potential for catastrophic outcomes.

While the laboratory is staffed with some of the world's leading scientists and researchers, there are basic workplace safety concerns in its aging buildings. Important safety systems at Los Alamos, including the lab's fire alarm and suppression systems, date back to the 1970s.

Slip-and-fall accidents can cause damaging ankle injuries

A serious ankle injury can be a very real risk following a slip-and-fall accident in North Carolina. These types of injuries can lead to severe pain, reduced mobility and other chronic issues.

The ankle joint comes together where three bones join -- the tibia, fibula and talus. The tibia forms the inner bone of the ankle while the fibula forms the outer; the talus is a foot bone. This convergence is covered by a joint capsule membrane lined with tissue called the synovium. Multiple ligaments and tendons hold the structure of the ankle joint together. This complex interaction means that injuries can happen to various parts of the ankle.

Holding businesses and hosts liable for drunk driving accidents

Were you recently in an accident caused by a negligent and intoxicated driver? If so, you may be eligible for compensation beyond a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. Some states, including North Carolina, give you the opportunity to sue a third party that sold or gave alcohol to the driver in question.

The laws allowing these claims are often referred to as dram shop laws. In this blog post, we will look at third party liability for alcohol-related accidents in North Carolina.

Federal rule aims to improve truck driver training

Federal rules for truck driver training are going into place that will affect new drivers in North Carolina and across the United States. The national training standards had been delayed for five months after the Trump administration ordered the regulations reviewed. The new rules, which became effective on June 5, have a compliance window that lasts for nearly three years.

Carriers and trainers have until February 2020 to be in compliance with the rule. The training rule will apply to all commercial driver's licence applicants who receive their CDLs on or after Feb. 7, 2020. The new rules create a core curriculum that must be taught to driver trainees and CDL applicants. It also mandates behind-the-wheel training and creates a list of federally-approved trainers. CDL applicants must receive their training from certified trainers on the registry.

Reducing fatigue in the workplace

For many North Carolina employees, it is easy to become fatigued, especially if they are responsible for meeting deadlines while having busy work and non-work schedules. Because sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, the National Safety Council chose to focus on fatigue during the second week of its National Safety Month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night. The CDC estimates that a third of adults do not get the sleep they need. In general, employees who work night shifts or who have shifts that change frequently are most at risk for fatigue. Workers who have more than one job or who work long hours are also at risk. Further, people who are required to work in harsh environmental conditions are also at risk.

Inspection blitz ended on June 8

North Carolina residents might be interested in learning that an annual safety inspection blitz ended on June 8. It was targeted at commercial trucks and started on June 6.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance puts on the annual inspection blitz in an effort to highlight problems within the truck driving industry. The nonprofit organization works together with inspectors across the U.S. and in Canada. The goals of the inspections are to check for compliance with safety and maintenance regulations, to step up enforcement and to engage in educational initiatives aimed at improving the safety of the trucks as well as the public roadways.

What should you do if a dog bites you?

Dogs are commonly known as man’s best friend, but no one can fully predict how an animal will act in an unfamiliar, threatening situation. Each year, dogs bite around 4.7 million people in America, and almost half of that number is children between five and nine. 

Many of these bites result in injuries that require medical attention, and in the worst-case scenario, a dog bite can lead to a serious disease or death. To protect yourself or a family member after a dog bite, remember these tips.

Truckers may face increase in sleep apnea screening requirements

North Carolina motorists who are concerned about their safety on the roadway may be interested to learn that trucking companies may soon be screening more drivers for sleep apnea. Based on the U.S. Supreme Court's April decision not to hear a case on the matter, courts do not appear to be willing to grant truckers protection for obesity under the American with Disabilities Act. As a result, some companies may now require testing with less fear of being named in a potential lawsuit.

One sleep apnea expert says that truck driving as an occupation can lead to obesity as well as other health problems. In turn, obesity is a contributing factor of obstructive sleep apnea, which could cause drivers to become drowsy while they are behind the wheel. Study results indicate that fatigued driving may cause up to 20 percent of all trucking-related accidents.

Child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents

North Carolina parents who are concerned about the safety of their children on the road may be interested in the results of a recent study on motor vehicle accidents involving child fatalities. According to a joint study conducted by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard University, auto accident fatalities in children under the age of 15 tend to occur more in the South. Crashes on rural roads as well as unused or improperly used restraints are common factors in the deaths.

The study examined car accidents that took place in 2010 to 2014. Almost 16 percent of the children involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents during that time, a total of 2,885, perished as a result of the accidents. This number represents a mortality rate of 0.94 per 100,000 children per year. The study also found that state-level statutes and regulations and the constant enforcement of those laws were essential towards preventing child fatalities in auto accidents.

Occupational safety signs best practices and standards

Hazard signs are an important part of workplace safety. They warn employees of potential dangers and remind them to use safety equipment in the area. However, many North Carolina work sites may be using safety signs that are not approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because they are out of date.

While occupational safety signs can be purchased online or in catalogs, in most cases they may not be in compliance with guidelines that were changed by the American National Standards Institute in 2013. For instance, the oval danger signs that were once OSHA-approved have been replaced with signs that reflect the latest best practices, and these changes are for the better.

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