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South Carolina Personal Injury & Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How drivers can avoid accidents on the road

Like every other state, South Carolina sees its fair share of auto accidents. Local drivers will want to guard themselves against any negligent behavior so that they can avoid causing or being involved in a crash. Before even getting on the road, for example, one will want to make sure that their vehicle is properly maintained. Good maintenance improves steering, handling, braking times and acceleration. Tires and brakes, in particular, should be in good condition.

Drivers should avoid driving at night and in bad weather if possible. The night reduces visibility, and strong winds, rains and snow will make it easier to lose control of the vehicle. It's also a good idea to never drive after consuming alcohol, even after a couple of drinks. Sleep-deprived drivers are encouraged to pull over for a nap. The next thing is to avoid distractions in the car. Cell phones, audio systems, food, makeup and even other passengers can become a source of distraction.

Sleep is the only way to overcome drowsiness

A South Carolina motorist who has been awake for 18 hours drives like someone who has a blood alcohol content of .05 percent. If that same driver has been awake for 24 hours, it is similar to having a blood alcohol content of .10 percent. Those who are tired will yawn frequently, close their eyes and have trouble staying in their lane.

Tired drivers may also have trouble remembering what the last exit or road sign was. A drowsy driver may also be more likely to tailgate, brake excessively or rely heavily on lane assist or other safety features. Those who know that they are tired should try to play games to keep their minds alert until reaching their destination. It can also be a good idea to take a 20 to 30 minute nap at a rest area.

Precautions needed to help limit accidnts using machinery

South Carolina workers, especially those who work with machines, know that safety is of utmost importance in the workplace. They may not be aware, however, that there are measures they or their employers can take to maintain a safe working environment. Using equipment can speed up the work process, but any machine can become harmful if not used properly.

One protective measure involves using guarding around a machine. Whether this is a barrier or light curtain, guarding can help a worker from being hit by flying debris. Workers should also wear the necessary protective safety gear. For example, goggles protect the eyes from flying objects.

How data analysis and new tech reduce distracted driving

Distracted driving is more prevalent than some people in South Carolina may think. According to data analytics firm Zendrive, 60 percent of drivers in America use their phones behind the wheel at least once a day. This is only the beginning as drivers can distract themselves by eating, adjusting the radio or simply talking to a passenger. Distracted driving accidents often result in severe injuries and vehicle damage.

Trucking companies are hit hard by such accidents, which may cause them to experience delays and claims being filed against them. Thus, many companies are turning to technology for solutions. For years, data analysis has been a big help in identifying adverse events, such as speeding and hard braking, among truckers. Zendrive uses smartphone data to identify at-risk drivers for the sake of both fleet owners and their insurers. Omnitracs has added a module for detecting fatigue and distraction to its Driving Center web tool.

Petition to OSHA details provisions for heat stress standards

South Carolina, like most states, has not instituted any protective heat standards for indoor and outdoor workers. OSHA has established no federal standards either, but 130 groups recently came together petitioning the organization to begin the rulemaking process for such standards. The groups also laid out several provisions that they believe should be included in the provisions.

Extreme heat can cause workers to develop heat stress, a potentially fatal condition. Outside of California, Washington and Minnesota, the only states with protective heat standards, there are an estimated 260,000 workers who are at risk for heat-related illnesses and deaths. From 1992 to 2016, heat stress killed 783 workers in the United States. A report from Public Citizen also mentions climate change as a factor that will only increase risk with time.

BLS: trucking incurs the most fatalities of any industry in 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report in December 2017 that provides some important data on fatal work injuries during the year 2016. Truck and sales drivers in South Carolina should know that the industry they work in experienced the highest number of fatalities of any industry that year: 918 in all. This can be startling considering that the industry with the second-highest number, farming, incurred 260 deaths.

Even truck and tractor-trailer drivers in the construction and agricultural industry suffered from transportation-related accidents although these two industries were affected more by slip and falls and other accidents. Transportation-related accidents accounted for 2,083 of the 5,190 work fatalities in 2016. This comes to just over 40 percent and marks them as the most frequent cause of fatalities for that year.

Truck drivers see more fatalities than any other industry

According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released in December 2017, there were 5,190 work fatalities in the U.S. in 2016. This represents a 7 percent increase from 2015. As for which industries were the most hazardous, the Bureau found that the trucking industry saw the most fatalities: 918 in all that year. The second highest number was in the farming industry with 260 reported deaths. South Carolina residents may want to know about the other figures that are included in the report.

Transportation accidents, as in previous years, were the number one cause of work fatalities, accounting for about 40 percent of deaths in 2016. In total, 2,083 fatalities were due to collisions with vehicles as well as other unspecified roadway incidents. The construction industry in particular saw 991 fatal accidents involving the drivers of trucks or tractor-trailers. However, the logging industry was the most dangerous in the sense that it had the highest fatal work injury rate.

Fast production in meat plants linked to high worker injury rates

When consumers in South Carolina sit down to a meal of beef or pork, the labor that went into slaughtering and processing the meat is invisible to them. Currently, workplace regulations limit pork plants to processing 1,106 pigs per hour, but government regulators are thinking about removing the speed limit. A representative from the Food Integrity Campaign said that faster line speeds raise the dangers for workers. Substantial dangers already loom large over workers in the meat processing industry. These workers have a threefold chance of serious injuries compared to workers in other industries.

Repetitive strain injuries are particularly prevalent among beef and pork processors at a rate seven times above average. An anonymous worker who spoke to a news outlet said that management largely ignores complaints about repetitive motion injuries to hands. Managers instruct workers to ice their hands during breaks but not during time meant for production.

Safety tips for preventing heat stroke at outdoor worksites

Heat and humidity are part of life in South Carolina. Unfortunately, this means that outdoor workers in the state have a heightened risk for heat stroke, a serious and potentially fatal condition. Heat strokes can strike workers even in weather that only reaches the high 80s. Late spring and early summer heat waves present the greatest risks because people might not be acclimated to higher temperatures or mindful of the dangers. Fortunately, employers and supervisors have many strategies to call upon to prevent heat strokes or catch them early.

Supervisors often require training so that they can spot heat stroke. Dangerous fevers of 106 to 108 degrees can result from heat stroke, and victims will be disoriented and unable to sweat. People with diabetes or heart disease have a greater vulnerability to the heat. Ideally, a workplace will assign an employee to monitor heat threats and remind co-workers to protect themselves from high temperatures.

Companies finally focusing on motorcycle safety

Motorcycle safety is becoming a hot industry, according to some experts. A number of companies are developing new technologies that could help prevent motorcycle accidents in South Carolina and elsewhere.

While automobile safety has been big business for decades, relatively few advancements have been made in motorcycle safety over the same period of time. However, federal crash statistics show that motorcycle riders are alarmingly vulnerable during crashes, and companies are finally starting to take action. For example, Bosch is working on multiple technologies, including adaptive cruise control, that could increase motorcycle safety. Meanwhile, Canadian-based Damon X Labs and Israel-based Ride Vision are also developing safety technologies that could prevent motorcycle crashes.

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Anderson, SC 29621

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