Construction Sites Accidents: Fires and Explosions

We can all agree that there are some workplaces that are more dangerous than others, like how construction sites present more hazards compared to, say, an office building. According to the website of the Oklahoma City accident lawyers at the Abel Law Firm, construction site accidents account for about 20% of fatal work injuries and 10% of non-fatal work injuries in the U.S. Considering that there are many hazardous workplaces out there, taking 20% and 10% of the chunk of deaths and injuries is troubling.

Hazards

Some of the many accidents that can happen in construction sites are fires and explosions. Employers should make sure that their workplaces are safe from these hazards, but employees should also rely on common sense and safety measures to prevent accidents involving fires and explosives. Below are some of the hazards they should look at:

  • Chemicals, other combustible and flammable substances, and their containers
  • Compressed gas cylinders
  • Electrical systems, and the possibility of malfunctions
  • Explosives like dynamites
  • Tools, equipment, heavy machines, and the possibility of malfunctions

Injuries

There are a lot of possible injuries that can be sustained in a fire or explosion. There is the most obvious one – burns. The website of The Benton Law Firm has classified burns depending on where you have sustained them, from first degree burns and hot metals and fourth degree burns and electric shock – either danger is present in a construction site.

Other injuries include traumatic ones, mostly sustained from the blast of an explosion and victim hitting an object or getting hit by an object. The most dangerous traumatic injuries involve the brain and the spinal cord.

Liability

What makes construction site accidents and injuries so devastating is the fact that employers have the responsibility of keeping safety on the workplace, so in a perspective, the hurt workers are merely victims. There may be legal options available for these workers, especially if it has been proven that the employer’s negligence, recklessness, or incompetence, is the reason behind the accident.

Pedestrian Accidents – Often a Result of Negligence

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Fact Sheet show that, in 2012, there were 4743 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, while another 76,000 sustained non-fatal injuries.

Anyone, at certain periods of the day, is a pedestrian. It can be a person running or jogging, someone just standing at a street corner, a hiker, or a person who decides to walk to a nearby grocery, to a friend’s house, or to the office.

There are different factors that can put pedestrians’ lives at risk. Though majority of the incidences wherein pedestrians get injured or killed involve motor vehicles, there are also non-vehicular causes, such as poorly-maintained or defective sidewalks and parking lots, faded or lack of crosswalks (especially in rural areas), inadequately lit roads, and debris on walkways.

Most pedestrian accidents occur in rural areas and during the night, when many different factors that compromise pedestrian safety are at work, such as overspeeding drivers (which is common due to the very light traffic), unlit roads, unaccompanied elders, intoxicated drivers, or intoxicated pedestrians.

Both drivers and pedestrians are expected to observe and obey road safety rules as well as exercise reasonable care. While drivers are usually judged as the liable or negligent party in pedestrian accidents, when the case is brought to court, all elements are looked into and there have been instances when it was actually the pedestrian who acted carelessly and caused the accident.

Some of the factors considered by the court in determining acts of negligence include:

a. On the part of the driver:

  • Overspeeding;
  • Failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians, even at crosswalks;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol;
  • Failure to signal, especially when about to make a turn; and,
  • Disregarding traffic or weather conditions

b. On the part of the pedestrian:

  • Ignoring the “don’t walk” signal;
  • Failure to cross at marked crosswalks;
  • Entering and disrupting the flow of traffic; and,
  • Darting in front of vehicles

A pedestrian who gets injured due to the negligent act of a driver or because someone never did a good job in maintaining and keeping roads, sidewalks or parking areas safe, may be able to recover damages for whatever injuries he/she sustains. Being represented by a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer or pedestrian accident lawyer, however, would be a necessity in a civil lawsuit as the liable party will definitely do everything to disprove accountability.

According to The Benton Law Firm, the state of Texas is known for many things, but not necessarily known as pedestrian friendly. Crosswalks and sidewalks serve more as potential “yields” to most drivers, rather than precautionary measures. As a result, many pedestrians are injured and killed each day due to driver negligence throughout the Dallas area. If you have been injured by a motor vehicle in a pedestrian accident, it may be in your best interest to contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer or pedestrian accident lawyer as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Most Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing homes guarantee provision of the highest level of care; however, beneath the friendly and warm welcome to arriving residents who are accompanied by family members, what is hidden can be painful experiences wrought by abuses and various forms of acts of neglect.

Also called convalescent homes, nursing homes are facilities for people who require extra care, out-of-hospital medical attention and assistance even in the performance of daily activities, such as eating, toileting, bathing and dressing. To address the various needs of residents, nursing homes should have a registered nurse, a licensed nurse and trained nursing aides who are expected to attain and maintain the highest possible level of physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of all residents and patients.

In February 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had on record about 15,700 registered nursing home facilities in the U.S. These housed an estimated 1.4 million elder citizens, usually 65 years old or above, children and young adults who are physically or mentally incapacitated, or needing rehabilitative therapies due to an illness or an accident, and those who need extra care, like patients with Alzheimer or Parkinson’s disease.

The American Association for Justice says that 90% of nursing homes lack the required number of staff needed to assure provision of sufficient, quality care. Being understaffed is a major reason why abuses and neglect are committed in nursing homes and, with 90% of these facilities not having enough personnel, no wonder why many more residents are getting subjected to neglect and maltreatment under the hands of stressed and overworked aides and nurses.

Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:

  • Bedsores and pressure ulcers
  • Injuries from nursing home slip and falls
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Emotional withdrawal by the elder
  • Unusual changes in behavior
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Lack of friendly interaction with nursing home staff or residents

Majority of nursing home neglect goes unreported because of residents’ fears of retaliation from staff. Left unaddressed however, then nursing home neglect carries an increased risk of illness, death, injury, and trauma for elders.

As explained in the website of the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., “Nursing home negligence or elder neglect is failure on the part of personnel to provide a resident proper medical, physical, or emotional attention. This failure can end up in a dangerous situation, especially if the resident has a serious health condition or is not able to care for himself/herself. With 1/3 of all assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the United States having been cited for some type of abuse or mistreatment, it is time that aggressive legal action against abusive or negligent nursing home facilities be pursued to end this epidemic of mistreatment.

The Kind of Protection the Jones Act Provides Seamen

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, more commonly known as the Jones Act, is a federal statute that protects seamen who get injured on the job, specifically by giving them the right to sue their employer for personal injury or negligence damages.

For purposes of the Jones Act, some terminologies are assigned their appropriate definitions:

  • Seaman. Refers to a person, who spends a significant amount of time on a vessel or on a specific fleet of vessel (working as a crewmember or a captain on a vessel) that is considered “in navigation.”
  • Vessel In Navigation. This refers to any type of vessel or boat that is afloat, in operation, capable of moving and on navigable waters (does not include: a vessel that is in a drydock or out of the water up on blocks; oil drilling platforms; a newly built vessel that is still undergoing sea trials; and, floating casino barges). By “navigable waters,” this can refer to a river or lake which can be used for interstate or foreign commerce (such as the ocean and landlocked lakes but only if these extend to another state or are connected to a river that flows into another state).
  • Significant Amount of Time. A person should spend at least 30% of his/her employment time on a vessel in order to qualify as a seaman. Thus, a person who works 70% of the time in the office and the remaining 30% on a vessel can be considered a seaman.

The Jones Act strictly requires maritime employers to:

  • Provide seamen with a reasonably safe place to work; and,
  • Use ordinary care, under any circumstances, to keep and maintain the vessel, on which a seaman works, in a reasonably safe condition. Any unsafe condition on a vessel can lead to liability under the Jones Act and, in the event of injury, the injured seaman needs only prove that his/her employer’s negligence was a contributory factor to the events that resulted to his/her injuries in order for him/her to recover damages against his/her Jones Act employer.

As explained by a San Diego Jones Act attorney, numerous men and women are injured or killed each year while out at sea due to negligent or careless employers or co-workers, who make the sea much more dangerous. Injuries resulting to these negligent acts gives the injured the right to pursue legal action which will allow them to seek financial compensation.

The Most Common Roof Problems and How to Avoid Them

It’s safe to assume that most homeowners find roof problems especially cumbersome, particularly because it can be both expensive and time-consuming to solve. This is why it’s important to keep in mind the issues that affect the integrity of the roof of any structure. According to Ft. Lauderdale roofers from Best Roofing, learning of the most common roof problems can help prevent these issues from occurring in the future.

Moisture and leaks

Leaks in roofs are one of the most common problems experienced by homeowners all over. A leaking roof is usually caused by broken or missing shingles and flashing that wasn’t properly installed or has since been damaged through regular wear and tear. These issues can easily be addressed by a quick repair job. Simply replace the damaged shingles and use sealant or cement to strengthen the flashing. It’s important to resolve these concerns right away because moisture from leaks can affect the integrity of the roofing, requiring a more intense repair by experts.

Shrinkage and blistering

Shrinkage is a common problem for single-ply roofing. The EPDM rubber membrane used in this kind of roofing can shrink without proper maintenance, which can then cause the flashings to pull and become fragile. Meanwhile, roof types called BUR that are made of coal tar, asphalt or cold-applied adhesive can suffer from blistering and surface erosion. All these issues are important to address because they can lead to problems which affect the strength of roofing structure.

Improper installation and repairs

Many of the aforementioned roofing issues can be avoided through proper installation and repairs. Sometimes, when contractors fumble at roofing installation, their mistakes can cause roofing problems that might take a while to notice. A roof, for example, might not immediately show signs of weakening foundations due to extensive water damage. This happens over a period of time and the only thing that can be done to prevent such problem is to ensure that the contractors hired for roof installation are well-trained and experienced in roofing systems.