Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

How some major companies continue to neglect worker safety

Many employees in Kentucky have to deal with unsafe working conditions. For many companies, it appears that safety, as with so much else, is being subordinated to the bottom line.

Recently, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health released a list of a "dirty dozen" companies that are notorious safety offenders. Though the list is not detailed and is geared toward National COSH's goal of establishing and strengthening unions, the information it provides is revealing. Among the companies noted for unsafe practices are Tesla and Amazon.

Fall prevention in the workplace

Slips, trips and falls are a major hazard for workers in Kentucky and across the United States. According to the National Safety Council, 798 workers died from falls in 2014. Of those, 660 died after falling from a height, and 138 were killed in falls on the same level. However, there are some simple safety measures workers can take to reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries and fatalities.

Before they begin a job, workers should assess the environment for slip, trip and fall hazards and create a prevention plan. If workers see a potential hazard, they should point it out and make sure it is dealt with. To avoid falls on the same level, workers should slow down and watch where they are walking, taking note of any changes in elevation. They should avoid distractions, such as texting or phone calls, and wear job-appropriate footwear. If workers notice any spills, they should clean them up as soon as possible.

IoT technology is improving workplace safety

Companies in Kentucky and worldwide are starting to use Internet of Things, or IoT, technology to improve workplace safety and increase productivity. The technology uses connected devices and sensors to track worker health and environmental conditions.

The International Labor Organization reports that 321,000 people die in occupational accidents around the world each year. Meanwhile, the CDC reports that job-related injuries cost U.S. companies around $220 billion annually. In order to help reduce fatalities and injuries, companies are increasingly giving their employees wearable devices that can monitor their well-being. For example, there are approximately 53 million lone workers employed across the U.S., Canada and Europe. If these workers experience a health or safety issue, they have no one around to help them. However, there are wearable IoT devices on the market that allow lone workers to alert employers and police if they are in danger or experience a health issue. There are also smartphone apps that provide similar safety features.

Drowsy driving can be dangerous

While many people in Kentucky are aware of the dangers of drunk driving, being sleepy while behind the wheel can also be surprisingly dangerous. Drunk driving has become socially unacceptable over the years, but 60 percent of American adults say that they have driven their cars while drowsy. Even worse, a full 33 percent of Americans say that they have fallen asleep while driving their vehicles.

In addition to the danger of car accidents, drowsy driving can be similar to drunk driving in other ways. In fact, sleep deprivation can have very similar effects on the human body as intoxication with alcohol. If a person drives after being awake for 18 hours straight, they will behave like a person with a blood-alcohol concentration of .05. If they have been awake for a full 24 hours, they could drive like their blood alcohol concentration was .10, which is over the legal limit.

The silent killer of motorcyclists

Motorcyclists typically have a special bond with their bike. They can spend hours driving on highways and through the country side. Unfortunately, people are 27 times more likely to get into an accident on a motorcycle than in another type of vehicle.

When these accidents happen, cyclists are at risk for multiple types of injuries like internal bleeding and broken bones. Only one type of injury kills the most motorcyclists on the road, TBI.

Parents: start summer vacation with safety precautions

The summer sun is high in the sky. The mornings are warm and the last days of school are in session. Your kids are antsy, ready for their vacation to begin. You’ve booked activities to keep them occupied, and created a list of chores for them to complete. This will help fill their days, but you also know that they will spend plenty of time outside.

The kids are excited to bust out the sidewalk chalk, their bikes and the sprinkler. You love that they want to play outside. When the kids are outside, they are active and get in plenty of exercise. You also have concerns. Summertime and being outside means there will be more people out and cars on the road.

Startup's wearable tech is ideal for safety-minded employers

No matter what industry employers in Kentucky work in, they probably see their fair share of safety hazards in the workplace. While some are foreseeable, others are not. In this country alone, workplace accidents continue to cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year in workers compensation claims. Across the world, these accidents take the lives of over 1,000 workers every day and injure more than 500 every minute.

Safety-minded employers and workplace safety managers may benefit from the new technology being brought out by an Iowa-based insurtech startup named MākuSafe. The company has recently developed a wearable band for workers that can track environmental data in real time, including changes in lighting and temperature, changes in levels of contaminants in the air and any near-misses and hazardous situations.

Falls are an all-too-common factor in construction claims

Construction site owners in Kentucky might be wondering what the most common safety hazards are in their industry, and the answer comes down to falls. Nationwide Insurance analyzed more than 10,000 construction-related workers' comp claims that it processed in the past five years, and the company found that 30 percent of them are due to falls from elevated surfaces.

This simply underscores the need for ongoing employee training. To this end, OSHA sponsored a nationwide stand-down from May 7 to 11, encouraging construction employers to put a temporary stop on production and address safety issues on the job site. For many, these stand-downs provide the perfect opportunity to transition into ongoing training.

What people should do when they become disabled

Kentucky workers who have suffered a disabling injury or illness that prevents them from returning to their jobs might be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. There are several things that people can do to improve their chances of approval.

Before applying, people should start by determining their eligibility for SSDI. In order to be eligible, people must have paid FICA taxes through their jobs for at least five years out of the past 10. The disability must be severe enough to qualify. The Social Security Administration says that people must have disabling conditions that are expected to last for at least 12 months or that will lead to their deaths to qualify for SSDI.

Beyond the aesthetics: what to look for in a new car

You’ve decided that it’s time to retire your car to the shed and upgrade to a newer model. You may even know the exact car that you want to buy and are ready to make the commitment. You’re enticed by the car’s aesthetics, luxury features and maybe even the bargain price tag that comes with it. But, while the salesman may boast about the good deal you’re getting, the safety of the vehicle should be at the forefront of your mind. Researching ahead of time may be your best bet at finding the safest and sophisticated car for you.

Here are a few things to consider before selecting your new ride.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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