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Newton NJ Personal Injury and Family Law Blog

Protective head gear used by construction workers

One of the major risks that New Jersey construction workers face is a potentially fatal traumatic brain injury caused by a fall or a falling object. They are required to wear special protective gear when they are working in areas that have these risks. However, some construction firms are looking to improve construction worker head protective gear to reduce the number of fatal traumatic brain injuries even further.

All construction workers are required to wear helmets that are designed to reduce the severity of the impact that could be transferred to the skull. This is accomplished with suspension bands inside the helmet and an inch or so of space between the hat's shell and the worker's skull. When an impact hits the hard hat, the helmet is designed to spread over the surface of the helmet and not directly impact the head.

An increase in fatal truck accidents

The number of buses and large trucks involved in fatal collisions in New Jersey and around the country has been increasing steadily, and 2015 was particularly deadly according to figures from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration. The agency has reported that 4,311 commercial large and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2015, which represents an 8 percent year-over-year increase. The rate at which those vehicles were involved in deadly crashes per 100 million miles traveled also increased from 1.34 to 1.45 according to the report.

The FMCSA bases its annual report on data provided by NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which began compiling fatal accident statistics in 1975. The deadliest year on record for fatal truck collisions was 2005 when 5,231 semi trucks and buses crashed, but stricter regulations, more effective law enforcement and improving auto safety systems helped to lower that figure by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009.

Why defective airbags are dangerous

When New Jersey residents buy a car, they expect that vehicle to be safe, especially if it is new or has been well-maintained. However, there has already been a recall on more than 42 million Takata airbags due to a potential defect that could be dangerous if not deadly.

Airbags are designed to inflate when the sensor detects that the vehicle has come to a rapid stop. When they work correctly, the airbags can prevent more serious injuries and even deaths. However, there are factors that can prevent the airbags from working as intended. These include excess moisture, high temperatures and defects related to the age of the device. In the event the inflator housing fails, shards can be projected when the airbag inflates.

Tesla Model S struggles in IIHS crash safety tests.

New Jersey residents may know that many experts believe that autonomous vehicle technology could one day considerably reduce the frequency of automobile accidents caused by human error. Tesla has included many of the latest autonomous safety systems on its luxury Model S sedan, and its CEO Elon Musk is on record as saying that his company's flagship model is the safest car ever built. However, the Model S has struggled to live up to Musk's comments in tests designed to determine how cars, SUVs and pickup trucks perform in real-world accident situations.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit organization that tests car designs and safety equipment by conducting several types of crash reenactment. The organization tested six full-size sedans in early July, and the Tesla Model S failed to make it onto the organization's list of the safest vehicles available in the United States. The Toyota Avalon, Lincoln Continental and Mercedes-Benz E-Class met the standard required in all five IIHS tests and have been added to the IIHS safest vehicles list.

Same-sex marriage trends following legalization

New Jersey residents may be aware that same-sex marriage became legal in late June, 2015, following a landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Following this ruling, same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states, including in 14 states that had not previously legalized gay marriage.

Within the last decade, the public support for same-sex marriage has continued to increase. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, approximately 62 percent of American citizens support same-sex marriage while 32 percent do not. However, there are still demographic divides over same-sex marriage. For example, 85 percent of Americans who are not affiliated to a religion support same-sex marriage. On the other hand, 44 percent of black Protestants support same-sex marriage. Younger individuals also generally are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than Baby Boomers and those who are in the Silent Generation.

New Jersey teens with summer jobs may face injury dangers

Teenagers who work during the summer get exposure to more than just adult responsibilities. They also run the risk of adult dangers like getting hurt on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that many young workers are in harm's way due to circumstances like poor supervision, subpar safety training and equipment that isn't safe.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, revealed that 24 workers under the age of 18 died from job injuries in 2015. This was just a small fraction of the 403 fatalities among all workers below the age of 24, but from 1998 to 2007, these individuals sought emergency room treatment for workplace injuries two times as much as older employees. OSHA says that hazards like lifting heavy items, getting exposed to chemicals and dealing with violent crime all tend to be risk factors for budding young professionals.

Nuclear safety questioned at major laboratory

New Jersey workers might be keeping their eyes on troubling reports of safety lapses at a major United States nuclear facility. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, which developed the atomic bomb, has had a number of safety lapses and concerning incidents over a period of years.

A series by the Center for Public Integrity has highlighted federal concerns about incidents in the lab. In 2013, work was suspended at Los Alamos after safety problems were discovered, although now it is close to being in full operation.

Some dental practices failing to plan for bloodborne exposure

Some people who work in New Jersey dental offices might be vulnerable to exposure to bloodborne pathogens according to a survey by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. The survey collected answers from more than 1,000 dental hygienists, dentists and staff at private dental practices around the country regarding protocol around bloodborne pathogens.

The survey asked whether participants were aware of applicable OSHA requirements, whether their practice had a written plan for exposure control and whether they knew what might prevent the implementation of an exposure control plan. The survey found that there was no intent to develop an exposure control plan among half the respondents who did not have one. Of those who had a plan, almost one-quarter had not reviewed it in the past 12 months.

When an ankle injury is the result of a slip-and-fall accident

When slip-and-fall accidents occur, ankles can especially be at risk. An ankle injury is likely because of the way a person tends to land on the foot when trying to avoid falling after tripping or sliding. Coming down hard on the foot can turn the ankle, and the result couple be a fracture, strain or sprain, or torn ligaments or tendons.

Ankle fractures are more likely following serious falls. Fractures may include a break to the tibia, fibula or talus. The lower bones in the leg could be fractured as well. This can be a serious injury that does long-term or permanent damage to the functionality of the ankle. In a sprain or a strain, the ligaments may be stretched, and this type of injury could take months to heal. The same could be true if the tendons or cartilage are torn.

Why you should think twice before letting your child mow the lawn

The grass is growing rapidly, and the children are looking for something to do - why not let them take the lawn mower out for a spin? Not so fast. New research suggests that parents should think twice before letting their children use lawn mowers - and before using a lawn mower when young children are nearby.

On average, about 4,800 children are injured by lawn mowers every year, according to researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.The study analyzed 25 years of data on lawn mower injuries involving children under age 18.