Toxic Substances in the Workplace: A Major Cause of Danger to Workers

Posted by on Apr 12, 2016 in Worker Injuries | 0 comments

In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was enacted by the US Congress, making it the first federal law that is aimed at ensuring safety of all workers and safety in all workplaces. This task, as specifically defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is geared towards making sure that “employers provide their workers a place of employment free from recognized hazards to safety and health, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions”.

The passing into law of the OSH Act was the federal government’s response to the widespread occurrences of workplace accidents that continuously injured millions of workers and took thousands of lives. But while OSH Act’s main purpose was enacting laws, enforcement of these laws and the setting of workplace health and safety standards were made the tasks of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which the OSH Act established in 1971.

Since it came into existence, OSHA, with the help of State and local governments, has worked to significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries in the workplace. Based on records from the US Department of Labor, because of OSHA, the average 38 daily work-related deaths in the 1970s is down to 13 a day (in 2014). Even work-related injuries which, in the 1970s, was at 10.9 incidents per 100 workers, is now down to 3.2 per 100 workers.

Injuries and deaths, however, are not only caused by dangerous tools, machineries, large and heavy equipment, snarled wires, or any other thing that would increase risk of accident (regardless of the type of workplace where workers perform their job). According to OSHA, there are also hazardous substances which can develop in workers a chronic, deadly disease that can keep them out of work and require continuous medical treatment.

More than 13 million workers in the US, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are affected by toxic substances and chemical hazards. One example of these hazardous substances is silica or crystalline silica, a very common mineral and a basic component of granite and sand. Silica has caused in millions of workers the development of pulmonary tuberculosis, lung cancer or silicosis, a serious lung disease. Those especially affected are foundry workers, miners and sandblasters.

Many substances, besides causing internal injuries due to inhalation of fumes, can also cause occupational skin diseases (OSD), like skin cancer, skin infection, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis or other types of skin diseases. OSDs are, actually, the second most common type of work-related diseases among those whose line of work fall under construction, agriculture, printing or lithography, painting, cleaning, cosmetology,  mechanics, health care and food service.

As explained in the website of the Williams Kherkher law firm, taking reasonable safety precautions and making sure that workers and visitors are kept out of danger are part of a company’s responsibilities. This means that if an accident occurs due to an employer’s negligence (regardless of the cause of the accident: a faulty equipment, a dangerous condition, poor decisions by management or co-workers, or by exposure to dangerous substances), the injured will have the right to seek compensation for his or her injuries.

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Gun Suppressor Education

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Guns | 0 comments

Yes, gun suppressors or silencers, as they are popularly known, as legal to own and use in the United States. However, there are strict guidelines and requirements in order to possess gun silencers, and sit is important to know that gun suppressors are only legal in 41 states. Gun suppressors are under the control and jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with federal and state laws regulating them for civilian use.

There may be difference between states when it comes to the requirements, but generally, they may ask for the same qualifications. It is first important to know whether you state allows civilians to legally own and use gun suppressors. You should be a legal resident and citizen of the United States, and is legally qualified to purchase a silencer. You should be a resident of the 41 states that permit civilian gun suppressor ownership. There is also a mandatory BATFE background check that you should pass; this test is typically 60-120 days.

Because of the strict requirements and qualifications that come with owning gun suppressors, many gun enthusiasts tend to go away with just using their firearms without silencers. However, the benefits of silencers, such as integral suppressors from Suppressed Weapon Systems, make the trouble of applying for legal possession worth it. Gun suppressors are not only utilized by the military, they also help make hunting easier and safer when used properly and for the right reasons. Because of these benefits, the market for gun suppressors has been booming for some time now.

A license is not necessary in order to purchase a gun suppressor, although you may need to pay a one-time tax of $200 for every single suppressor you purchase. Those who are of 18 years of age are allowed to buy gun suppressors if they are from a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer according to the laws in your state, and if he or she is a trust beneficiary or a part of a corporation.

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Hit and Run Accidents: What Happens in the Aftermath?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Hit and run accidents are among the most alarming incidents that happen in American roads and highways. The fact that these accidents are becoming more and more prevalent contributes to this concern. As noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, vehicular crashes where the driver at fault flees the scene have resulted in 1,449 fatalities in 2011. This is a significant increase from the 1,274reported hit and run fatalities during the year 2009.

While specific provisions may differ from state to state, traffic laws in America generally require drivers that have been involved in an accident to stop and wait for traffic enforcement to arrive at the scene. Drivers that have caused injury to another motorist or to a pedestrian are also required to provide assistance and share all information necessary to do so. Driving away from the scene of an accident is a gross violation and is usually met with severe punishment. Those charged with a hit-and-run violation may face license revocation or suspension, imprisonment, costly fines, and even the cancellation of one’s liability insurance.

Still, the aftermath of a hit and run accident is far grimmer for the victims involved in the crash. An injury caused by a major car collision is already dangerous on its own. It’s easy to imagine that such dangers increase when the victim is left at the scene extremely vulnerable and with little means to seek out medical assistance. When victims do receive the medical attention they need, they are often left financially burdened by the expenses required for their treatment. Injuries caused by major car accidents are also known to leave victims incapacitated. In most cases, victims will need to take time off from their jobs in order to recover properly and are left with no means of income for the time being.

Because of these consequences, the website emphasizes that car accident victims have the absolute right to pursue legal action against those who injure them in such a grave manner. This is especially true for victims involved in a hit and run accident. Aside from criminal charges, a driver who flees at the scene of a car wreck can also be pursued through a civil lawsuit where victims can claim just compensation for the damages they’ve incurred.

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What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Car accidents are frequent events that affect millions of people every year. Negligent driving is one of the most common reasons that an accident occurs. Even more dangerous that negligence when operating a vehicle is recklessly or carelessly driving. This is defined as willfully and wantonly disregarding traffic laws and placing other people and property in direct danger of injury.

Although intent is not an element of reckless driving, the act of dangerous driving exceeds negligent driving. For example, speeding or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol constitutes negligent driving. However, these charges are separate than reckless driving as they do not explicitly establish excessively dangerous driving behavior.

Instances when these charges would fortify each other would include when speed exceeds over 30 miles per hour over the given speed limit or when the debilitating effects of drugs and alcohol causes the driver to carelessly operate a vehicle. Other driving decisions that would result in a reckless driving charge would include racing a vehicle in a prohibited manner, eluding an officer, and dangerously passing another vehicle with poor visibility.

Reckless driving is generally a misdemeanor, resulting in fines and possible jail time. However, the legal ramifications of reckless driving are far less severe than the possible injuries or fatalities resulting from an accident. Reckless driving can cause serious emotional and physical damage to drivers of cars and motorcycles as well as pedestrians.

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident due to the reckless and dangerous driving of another individual, consult a personal injury lawyer in your area to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and emotional distress.

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Texting While Driving: A Dangerous Activity While Behind the Wheel

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

While DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated, is a serious traffic violation that involves either alcohol or drugs, the website of Online found a unique way of using the same acronym, but with a rather amusing meaning – “driving while inTEXTicated.”

There is definitely nothing wrong with texting or talking with someone over the phone, but do any of these chores while driving, then the effect can even be fatal.

The Danger of Using a Phone While Driving

Records from the National Safety Council, a non-governmental and non-profit public service group established to help promote health and protect life in the United States, show as many as 1.6 million car accidents annually all due to the use of a cell phone while driving. Injuries and deaths on a daily basis, according to From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are 1,153 and 9, respectively. The sadder part of the reports, however, rest on the fact that majority of those involved in the accidents were young drivers, aged from 18 to 20, who admitted to have been texting someone at the time of collision.

The use of cell phone while driving is considered to be the worst and most dangerous form of distracted driving. Despite the recorded dangers it presents, states still vary with regard to the prohibition of the use cell phone while behind the wheel.

State Laws on Cell Phone Use While Driving

A total of 44 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and D.C., strictly prohibit text messaging (but not talking on the phone), for all types of drivers; D.C. and about 37 states, on the other hand, ban new drivers and teens any form of cell phone use.

Texting, though, is not the only dangerous activity behind the wheel. Talking with someone, whether using a handheld or hands-free phone, is even found to be more dangerous, actually causing more accidents than texting. This is because talking greatly increases the chance of keeping a driver’s eyes and attention off the road and driving task.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, accidents due to cell phone use are definitely preventable. While the federal government has ruled the use of a bluetooth headset for truck drivers to avoid their use of a cell phone, this mandate is yet to be required to drivers of smaller vehicles.

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Bone Graft Product under Fire

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

Arizona-based medical device manufacturer Medtronic is feeling the heat as an increasing number of individuals are filing claims of product liability for its INFUSE Bone Graft product. Approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) for use in specific spinal repairs, in 2004 for tibia procedures, and in 2007 for dental applications, INFUSE Bone Graft was lauded as a breakthrough in bone surgery.

INFUSE Bone Graft is used to encourage bone growth with the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP-2), a synthetic protein. It is used in areas where bone needs to be grown.

The product ran into trouble when complaints started coming in that Medtronic concealed potentially harmful side effects from using the product from the medical community and the public and that it marketed the product for off-label uses. Quite a few lawsuits have been filed against product manufacturers, such as Medtronic for INFUSE Bone Graft, in both federal and state courts for various injuries, including infections, bone and nerve damage, urinary complications, sterility, and some contend that there is a link between the product and cancer.

In one case, a 33-year-old construction worker decided to have bone graft surgery in 2011 when pain from back injuries sustained in a car accident persisted. He was assured that the surgery would improve his quality of life and reduce his pain. Instead, the hardware supporting the bone graft shifted to his nerve root and made his back pain worse to the point of debilitation. Revision surgery was only partially successful and now the man can only walk with a cane and is on disability as he is unable to work.

Medtronic has already paid a hefty sum in fines to the Department of Justice for off-label marketing of INFUSE and been involved in two whistleblower lawsuits as early as 2006, as well as a shareholder lawsuit that ended in a $85 million settlement. The latest legal troubles for Medtronic has not yet been referred to multidistrict litigation (MDL) but with more and more lawsuits being filed, there are speculations that an MDL is not far off.

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Morcellator: No Longer a Safe Device

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Dangerous Products | 1 comment

Hysterectomy, the surgical procedure that removes the uterus, is the second most common surgery performed on women. The National Institutes of Health states that one in every three American women will need to undergo this surgical procedure before turning 60. This is to treat different health conditions, such as: certain types of infections and cancer; reduce or eliminate chronic pelvic pain and uncontrollable vaginal bleeding; remove uterine fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus); and treat illnesses, like endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine prolapse (a condition wherein the womb or the uterus drops halfway from the cervix to the vagina or birth canal), and pelvic inflammatory diseases (or infection of the female reproductive organ).

Hysterectomy is a safe and effective surgical procedure; however, it takes time and requires a long period for recuperation. There are different ways to perform this surgery, through:

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy – A 5 – 7 inch vertical or horizontal incision is made on the abdomen.
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy – Hysterectomy where an incision is made inside the woman’s body, specifically in the vagina, instead of on the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – A surgical procedure wherein multiple minimal incisions are made (about four 0.5-1cm incisions), one of which is where the morcellator will need to be inserted and another, a tiny opening for a miniature camera, called the laparoscope, which will allow the doctor to have a view of the inside part the body where the uterus, which needs to be cut and removed, is located.
  • Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH) – This procedure also makes a direct incision in the vagina. A laparoscope is used for a more accurate performance of the procedure.

The introduction of the morcellator in the early 1990 was viewed as a major medical advancement, as it helped doctors perform hysterectomy faster, safer and with greater precision. A morcellator is a surgical device designed to cut the uterus and other large tissues into very small pieces for easy suction and removal. It is used in laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomy and myomectomy, or the removal of uterine fibroids, more commonly known as myoma.

The real effectivity of the morcellator, though, has been questioned after reports were made (and studies showed) that it can cause the spreading of a cancerous tissue, the uterine sarcoma, during hysterectomy and myomectomy. Since there is no medical device that could actually detect the presence of uterine sarcoma prior to the performance of laparoscopic surgeries, the use of the morcellator, therefore, comes with a great risk.

This risk promptly made the US Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety alert on April 17, 2014, to discourage the further use of morcellators in laparoscopic surgeries. Obviously, the argument that the device is safe no longer holds water – a position held by many law firms. The website of one such law firm, Williams Kherkher, says that women who have been harmed by the device can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seek for the compensation they may be legally entitled to receive.

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