The Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC
Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC
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Hickory NC Personal Injury Law Blog

Implementing new workplace safety plans

For North Carolina employees, workplace accidents can seriously affect their ability to do their jobs and may result in long-term disability. One way to prevent this is for employers to have the necessary workplace safety protocols in place. In order to make this effective, certain initial actions should be taken.

Having an overall strategic vision for safety is one thing that companies often neglect, even as they have detailed plans for many other aspects of the business. Creating and implementing this strategic vision can have a large impact on creating a sustainable safety program that survives employee turnover and other obstacles. It is important to remember that a strategic vision is not the same as strategic goals, as it often takes time to reach the desired result.

OSHA reports dangers of lasers

According to officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, lasers are a source of concern for workers in North Carolina and throughout the country. Individuals who work in the construction and medical industries are particularly at risk from suffering work injuries from lasers.

OSHA officials say that employees who work in industrial and research occupations are also at an increased risk of injury from lasers. The assistant labor secretary for OSHA said that workers who are not protected from exposure to lasers may suffer severe eye injuries including permanent blindness and skin injuries, such as tissue damage.

Change in workplace accident reporting requirements

As North Carolina business owners should already know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's requirements for reporting workplace fatalities and serious injury accidents changed beginning Jan. 1. Since that date, more businesses, including those with 10 or fewer employees, are required to file reports, and more report-triggering incidents are included.

Previously, employers were only required to report injuries necessitating hospitalization, amputations, eye losses and fatalities to OSHA if the triggering accident involved three or more workers. Employers with 10 or fewer workers were completely exempted from reporting.

Workplace skin exposure in North Carolina

Most employers are aware of the dangers of workplace exposure to chemicals and take steps to help prevent them. Most of the preventative measures employers use, however, are designed primarily to prevent inhalation injuries. Skin exposures to toxic chemicals are also problematic, and steps should be taken to prevent resultant injuries to workers.

Skin exposures can lead to contact or allergic dermatitis, which are reactions at the site of the exposure, or to more serious neurological disorders, diseases, systemic toxicity and skin cancers. These problems are not just relegated to workers in the chemical industry, but rather workers across many different sectors suffer exposure injuries and illnesses.

Facts regarding occupational auto-related accidents

Nearly every day, workers in North Carolina and across the country face dangerous working conditions. One such danger involves accidents involving motor vehicles. In fact, more than a third of on-the-job fatalities are linked to vehicle accidents, according to a recent report.

The risk of workplace-related injuries and fatalities involving vehicles affects various occupations such as those who drive buses, transfer trucks and construction vehicles. While many of these workers, whose main job is to transport people or freight, are protected by a strict set of federal safety policies, employers are not required to follow those policies for employees who must drive a personal or company vehicle during work hours.

Agricultural workforce safety statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control, agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries for workers in the United States. As a result, North Carolina farmers, farm employees and their family members, who often help out, are put at great risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries each day on the job.

Government records indicate there were approximately 1,854,000 full-time agricultural workers employed in the U.S. in 2012. Joining these workers on farms were an estimated 955,000 youth under 20 years old, 472,000 of which performed farm work.

Worker injured when machine malfunction causes explosion

A man was injured in an explosion at a North Carolina manufacturing plant on Dec. 4. The man was taken to the hospital with a serious leg injury.

A spokesman for the company, which produces plastic components for tractor trailer and truck interiors, said that the accident happened just before 9 a.m. while the employee was working with high pressure on an injection molding machine. The machine malfunctioned, causing a release of the pressure. The employee was conscious and alert when he was transported to the hospital, according to the representative.

How to prevent the top 5 most common workplace injuries

Every year, thousands of employees suffer workplace injuries across the United States; some injuries are minor, but others are life-threatening. North Carolina workers may find that the most common cause of workplace injuries is overexertion while the fifth most common is being struck by an object. There are ways that the employees could prevent these causes.

Overexertion occurs from excessively pulling, pushing, lifting or carrying materials. The best way for workers to avoid overexertion is to ask co-workers for assistance or use lift-assist devices if possible. Falls on the same level are the second-most common cause, often because the work area is cluttered. Keeping walk areas clear of objects that may cause tripping can reduce workplace injuries while wearing anti-slip shoes or applying an anti-slip coating to the floors may reduce falls.

SUV strikes, seriously injures sanitation worker

On Nov. 19, North Carolina officials reported that an SUV hit a sanitation worker at about 10:30 a.m. on Darwick Road in Winston-Salem. The accident subsequently sent the 59-year-old local worker to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for serious injuries.

According to city officials, this is the third time that a vehicle has hit a city worker since the beginning of 2013, with the other two incidents involving law enforcement officers. In this particular incident, the SUV sustained a big dent in the front bumper due to the impact with the pedestrian.

North Carolina worker dies in pedestrian bridge collapse

One worker is dead and four others are injured after a pedestrian bridge collapsed during construction at the north campus of Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh on Nov. 13. Paramedics responded to the scene shortly before 10:30 a.m., but the wooded terrain and area where the collapse occurred delayed their efforts to reach the five workers. Wake County EMS reported that the highest point of the 200-foot bridge was about 40 feet above the ground.

EMS said that the four hurt workers were transported to WakeMed with serious injuries, and three of them were due to have surgery. One of them suffered neck and back injuries, another suffered a broken leg and a third received treatment for pain. EMS said that none of the workers were trapped under the debris, but at least three people who contacted 911 reported otherwise. Others who were working on the bridge at the time escaped the collapse unharmed.


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Hickory, NC 28603

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