Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

OSHA inspectors to enforce trenching, excavation safety program

On Oct. 1, the revisions that OSHA made to its National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation went into effect. Now, the organization's area and regional offices are reaching out to assist employers with safety compliance. This outreach period lasts 90 days, so employers in Kentucky, especially those in the private construction industry, may want to take advantage of it.

This 90-day period is followed by the inspection phase, where Compliance and Safety and Health Officers inspect all open trenches and excavations regardless of whether they violate safety standards or not. OSHA's decisions are a response to the increasing number of worker injuries and deaths that have taken place during trenching and excavation operations. From 2011 to 2016, there were 130 recorded fatalities, and 49 percent of them were between 2015 and 2016.

Drivers may rely on assistance tech too much

A study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that drivers in Kentucky and across the U.S. overestimate the abilities of some vehicle safety technologies. Specifically, drivers seem to believe automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring systems are actually more powerful. The results of the study raise concerns about how Americans will adapt to advancing safety systems and self-driving vehicles.

According to AAA, many drivers confuse forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems. More than 40 percent of the drivers studied were unaware of the differences between them; collision warning systems give the driver a warning only while braking systems will apply the brakes for the driver.

How to prevent motorcycle accidents

For motorcycle riders, there are few better things than being out on the open road. You feel a sense of freedom as your bike speeds down the highway and the wind rushes by you. You likely also experience a rush of adrenaline because part of the thrill of riding a motorcycle lies in the inherent danger.

Riding a motorcycle is simply more dangerous than riding in other types of vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcycle accident is 28 times more likely to end in death than accidents in other vehicles.

However, the danger is not going to stop you from riding your motorcycle, but there are certain things you can do to help prevent accidents.

Ovarian cancer is frequently misdiagnosed

Women in Kentucky may want to learn more about ovarian cancer, especially as its early signs are often misdiagnosed or confused with another illness. When the diagnosis of ovarian cancer is missed by a doctor, treatment can be delayed, and the disease may progress significantly. One reason why ovarian cancer is known for its significant death toll is that many women are diagnosed only after the cancer has already spread. Gynecologists say that ovarian cancer takes too many lives due to misdiagnosis and a lack of awareness about the disease's threat.

In order to help prevent misdiagnosis and advocate for their health, it can be important for women to know more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Every year, 250,000 women are diagnosed while 140,000 lose their lives to the disease. Some of the common symptoms include belly pain, a feeling of fullness, frequent urination, indigestion, shortness of breath, bloating or weight gain. If the cancer is discovered while it is confined to the ovaries themselves, it is highly treatable with a 90 percent five-year survival rate. This means that these symptoms, which may seem unimportant or typical signs of aging, should be investigated by a doctor.

Typical workplace accidents to avoid

Workers in Kentucky may face a variety of hazards while on the job. Some of the most common hazards are slipping, tripping and falling. Slips generally occur because of rugs or mats that are torn or bunched up. They can also occur if a floor or other surface becomes oily or wet because of a spill or some type of weather event. Carpets can also be a tripping hazard for employees. Furthermore, poor lighting or objects left uncovered on a floor may result in a person tripping and getting hurt.

Many fatal workplace accidents are caused by vehicle collisions. These can occur when a car collides with a person repairing a road or otherwise working close to traffic.

Researchers praise young driver risk reduction programs

Motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of death for teenagers throughout Kentucky and the rest of the United States. Unfortunately, public information campaigns aimed at reducing the number of young drivers killed on the roads each year have proved largely ineffective. However, risk reduction programs for teen drivers that include visits to hospital emergency rooms and morgues could succeed where advertising has mostly failed, according to researchers from Baylor University.

Researchers asked 21 teens who had engaged in dangerous driving behavior a series of road safety questions before and after they took part in a risk assessment program. They discovered that young people became far more aware of the dangers of acting recklessly while driving after seeing first-hand the potential consequences of this type of behavior and learning from doctors and nurses how serious and debilitating car accident injuries can be.

Medication errors can have serious consequences

When people in Kentucky take medications prescribed by their doctors, they expect to achieve improved health and reduced symptoms. However, medication errors can be serious and even deadly, and patients may not even realize that they are receiving an incorrect medication or the wrong dose. Many medication safety regulations and guidelines that exist currently do because risks are addressed after a significant incident has shown a vulnerability to these kinds of mistakes.

One source of medication errors can be the entry of incorrect information into a patient's file or electronic health record. Most medical clinics and hospitals now use EHRs to handle patients' medical files. However, it can be far too easy for people to have multiple records open at the same time and record the information on the wrong patient's file. According to one study, at least 14 medication orders are placed each day for the wrong patient in a large hospital with 1,500 beds. The mistakes can be made by prescribing physicians, nurses or even pharmacists. Requiring the person entering the information to confirm or retype the patient's identification can reduce this type of error significantly.

What to do if you get in a car accident

Getting into a car accident can be a traumatic experience, whether it is your fault or not. In this moment of chaos, it's critical that you stay calm and take a step-by-step approach to the aftermath of the collision.

You never know when an accident will happen, so it's important to know what to do when involved in a collision, no matter the level of severity. 

Denied SSD applicants often cannot return to labor market

When people in Kentucky apply for Social Security Disability benefits, many face denials, at least in the initial stages of the process. However, applicants' need for benefits is underlined by the situations that they face when they attempt to get a job after a denial. Under the law, Social Security Disability Insurance mandates that beneficiaries must have a documented, serious medical condition that prevents them from doing any feasible job. People can be denied even if there is no indication that they will ever be able to obtain the type of job that evaluators believe they could theoretically perform.

Research conducted by Mathematica looked at people who were rejected at the initial stage of their SSD benefits application by a disability evaluator. They focused on people aged 50 or older who had sufficient years at work to be eligible for the program. In their study, they found that around half of the applicants received SSD benefits. For the denied applicants, they found that very few were able to work five years on; those who were found too disabled to return to their old job but theoretically capable of switching to other work had the worst time finding employment.

How does insurance handle hit-and-run accidents?

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be unsure how to get compensation for your damages and injuries. You must carefully document the accident for your insurance company and the police. However, that can be more difficult than just any collision since the other driver left the scene.

You’ll want to collect as much information about the scene as you can. If possible, obtain their license plate number, a description of the vehicle and which direction they went after leaving the scene. You’ll also want to get photos of the damage to your vehicle, and record the timeline of the accident.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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