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November 2015 Archives

Victims of GM ignition switch failures may seek punitive damages

Personal injury victims in New Jersey embroiled in legal battles arising from the ignition switch recall by General Motors Corp. now have a chance to seek punitive damages. A federal bankruptcy judge decided that the GM bankruptcy in 2009 might not shield the company from punitive damages even though the bankruptcy was supposed to protect the newly organized company from previous liabilities.

Handling workplace injuries with temporary workers

New Jersey workers whose activities are administrated through a temporary staffing agency might be interested in a recent OSHA letter intended to clarify the reporting procedures and oversight of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA noted in its interpretation that if a host employer directs an employee's daily activities, that company is typically also responsible for recording and reporting relevant injuries or illnesses tied to work activities.

Utah judge orders baby be removed from lesbian couple

New Jersey readers may be interested to learn that the Utah Division of Child and Family Services challenged a controversial decision by a Utah judge to remove a baby from foster parents because they are lesbians. In a statement on Nov. 12, the agency said it would fight the ruling if the judge didn't reverse his decision.

Protecting workers from hand-arm vibration syndrome

Heavy machinery and hand-operated power tools are often found in New Jersey workplaces. Construction sites and factories are two examples of areas where it is common for a worker to come into close physical contact with machinery during the day, and it is quite ordinary for an employee in either of those fields to spend a large part of their work week using powered hand tools. Unfortunately, the sort of vibration and shaking that is associated with powered tools has the possibility of becoming extremely harmful to the worker over time.

Construction noise can cause hearing loss

New Jersey construction sites can vary dramatically, and workers need to be flexible and attentive to avoid injury. In some cases, earplugs are practical safety tools for protecting one's hearing, but in many cases, these can create even more danger for a worker. The situation may determine weather ear protection is beneficial. However, all construction workers should be aware of their potential for hearing loss during exposure to particularly loud noises.

New Jersey pedestrians killed on Route 440

Two men crossing Route 440 in Bayonne became the 15th and 16th pedestrian fatalities to occur in New Jersey in 2015. The fatal pedestrian accident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. on Nov. 2 when the young men, both in their early 20s, set out to cross the roadway at Lefante Way. Going from east to west, they managed to clear the northbound lanes but were then hit by oncoming traffic when they reached the southbound lanes.

New Jersey medical facilities face increased OSHA scrutiny

In the wake of a newly released memorandum from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, inpatient and outpatient health care providers in New Jersey and nationwide are coming under increased OSHA scrutiny concerning worker injuries incurred in the performance of their duties. The memorandum notes that while OSHA is primarily concerned with five key areas of worker safety, OSHA inspectors also have broad discretionary authority to note other areas of active concern or risk.

Public service efforts and underage DUI

New Jersey motorists may be familiar with some of the most notable public service campaigns of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These efforts target certain behaviors and beliefs that can translate into injuries and deaths on the nation's roads. With the assistance of the Ad Council, the NHTSA has developed a campaign designed to reduce instances of underage drinking and driving. The effort will include various types of print, broadcast, and digital resources. An ad agency in New York has coordinated the campaign pro bono.