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Category Archive: Uncategorized

Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. What Is Malorie’s Law?

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    In 2014, the Texas State Legislation implemented Malorie’s Law on behalf of motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers. Many motorcyclists remain concerned about the implications of this legislation and how it will impact their ability to ride their vehicles. Implemented as a response to the 2010 death of Malorie Bullock, this law impacts how motorcyclists transport passengers on Texas roads.

    Malorie Bullock’s Story

    In 2010, 19-year-old Malorie Bullock, a Sherman local studying at Texas A&M University, lost her life in a tragic motorcycle accident. Malorie and her boyfriend were traveling about 90 miles northeast of Fort Worth, with Malorie riding on the back. The driver attempted to avoid a collision, crashing into a ditch and accidentally throwing Malorie off the back of the motorcycle.

    Malorie died as a result of her injuries, although she was wearing a helmet at the time. Her death raised concerns across the state on how motorcyclists transport their passengers and how safe common methods are. As a result, Texas lawmakers began to implement Malorie’s Law, with partial implementation in 2013 and full implementation in 2014.

    What Does Malorie’s Law Say?

    The 2013 partial implementation of Malorie’s Law required all motorcycle training courses to include basic information on how to safely transport a passenger on a motorcycle. The full 2014 implementation bans passengers on motorcycles that cannot carry more than one person at a time. If the manufacturer indicates that the motorcycle’s design cannot carry another person, the driver cannot transport a passenger.

    In addition, all motorcycles carrying two passengers must have the following holds.

    • Foot pegs for passengers riding on the back of the vehicle
    • Hand holds for passengers riding on the back of the vehicle

    Passengers riding on a motorcycle cannot simply grab on to the driver to ride the motorcycle safely. Grabbing onto the other person was what Malorie was doing when she died, and a helmet could not save her from the injuries. Texas lawmakers believe these requirements will prevent other people from dying in the same manner.

    Passengers and riders who fail to follow Malorie’s Law could be subject to the following penalties.

    • Up to 180 days in jail
    • Up to $500 in fines
    • A Class B misdemeanor charge

    Implications and Concerns for Texas Motorcyclists

    Many motorcycle riders expressed extreme concern at the new piece of legislation. Many motorcycles coming from the factory have the holds required by Malorie’s Law, but many riders are unsure what qualifies as a hand hold. While the requirement for foot pegs is clear, many motorcyclists wonder what a hand hold consists of and how it should hook on to the vehicle.

    In addition, motorcyclists are unsure about the safety of Malorie’s Law and how it compares to basic motorcycle training. Texas motorcycle training courses explain what Malorie’s Law is, as required by the state of Texas, but they also tell motorcyclists that the safest way to operate the bike with a passenger is if the passenger is holding on to the rider. Motorcyclists are unsure what to tell their passengers to stay safe. When in doubt, however, motorcyclists should follow what the law states.

    What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

    If a motorcyclist and passenger suffer an accident while riding, they should take the following precautions to stay safe and receive necessary medical and police attention:

    • Call 911 immediately to receive medical attention and a police report from responding officers.
    • Exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers.
    • Take pictures of the accident scene, posted signs, and the vehicles involved
    • Collect the contact information of any witnesses in the area.
    • Contact a motorcycle accident attorney to discuss options to recover compensatory damages, such as insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits.
  2. How to Prevent OSHA’s Fatal Four Construction Accidents

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    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), certain construction accidents cause death at a higher rate than other injuries. The Fatal Four accidents, as the agency dubbed them, include falls, struck-by object accidents, electrocutions, and caught-in/between injuries. According to OSHA, these accidents caused over 64% of construction-related deaths in 2015. However, certain safety regulations and practices can help construction sites prevent these accidents from happening.

    Preventing Falls

    Fall injuries account for almost one-third of construction deaths in the United States. All sites must have certain fall protection mechanisms in place, but some forego safety requirements, leading to increased worker risk. On construction sites, workers can fall for a number of reasons.

    • Portable ladder collapse
    • Unguarded steel rebar
    • Unprotected edges on high places
    • Floor holes
    • Wall openings

    These accidents can lead to spinal cord damage, paralysis, brain trauma, broken bones, and other injuries. Construction sites can prevent fall accidents and save worker lives by implementing the following changes.

    • Train workers about fall safety in a language they understand
    • Provide required personal protective equipment
    • Provide guard rails and toe-boards around any elevated platforms and floors, as well as heavy machinery
    • Include safety harnesses, railing, and nets wherever required

    Preventing Struck-by-Object Accidents

    Workers can face unexpected hazards from falling objects, flying debris, swaying loads, and rolling equipment and vehicles. Struck-by-object accidents are common causes of death on construction sites, catching workers off guard so that they do not have time to react. Workers can suffer from broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injury, brain damage, and crushing injuries as the result of struck-by accidents.

    Construction sites can prevent struck-by-object accidents by implementing the following changes.

    • Require employees to wear goggles, safety glasses, and face shields while using power tools
    • Ensure all protective guards are in good condition
    • Warn workers about working under suspended loads and near equipment and vehicles while in use
    • Tell workers to avoid areas where work is happening above and encourage them to always wear a hard hat
    • Use toe boards, screens, and debris nets to secure tools and materials
    • Tell workers to always verify with heavy equipment operators of their presence in a work area

    Preventing Electrocutions

    Electrocution causes over 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries annually on construction sites. These injuries are very serious, leading to severe burns, internal injuries, traumatic brain injury, kidney failure, and neurological damages. Workers can suffer electrocution injuries due to any of the following conditions.

    • Improper use of electrical equipment
    • Faulty power cords and equipment
    • Inadequate grounding
    • Power lines

    While OSHA requires all workers to have adequate protection when working near electrical power circuits, some workplaces forego this requirement. Construction sites can reduce electrocution deaths by implementing the following safety standards.

    • Provide proper safety training to all employees
    • Provide proper personal protective equipment for all employees
    • Require all employees to wear personal protective equipment and stress its importance
    • Ensure that all personal protective equipment has an arc rating equal to or greater than calculated energy on the site

    Preventing Caught-In/Between Injuries

    Caught-in and between accidents are the fourth cause of construction-related deaths. In these accidents, two or more objects on the site catch, crush, or squeeze a worker. As a result, workers can suffer from crushing injuries, broken bones, brain and head trauma, limb mangling, and other severe injuries. Vehicles, equipment, and stationary objects can all cause these injuries.

    Construction sites can avoid caught-in and between injuries on the job by implementing the following safety precautions.

    • Require workers to fully shut down equipment prior to repairs and inspections
    • Encourage workers to wear close-fitting clothes, pull back long hair into a bun, and not to wear jewelry on the job
    • Require workers to chock wheels on equipment so they do not move or roll unexpectedly
    • Stress the importance of staying focused on the job
    • Tell employees to avoid walking into the path of people carrying objects that block their eyesight
    • Familiarize employees with equipment and identify pinch, pull-in, wrap, sheer, and crush points
  3. How Do Roofing Accidents Happen?

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    Roofing accidents are common among Texas workers, and the effects of these accidents are too dangerous to ignore. The injuries sustained in roofing accidents are life-altering and often fatal – from paralysis to broken bones, roofers are subject to severe risks. These accidents can take place on both commercial and residential properties and occur throughout the year.

    Roofing Accident Statistics

    Roofing accidents are frequent throughout the United States. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

    • Over 150,000 roofers require medical attention for roofing accidents annually.
    • Over 97% of all roofing accidents happen at home, suggesting that professionals are not the only ones affected by these incidents and industry safety standards are vital in protecting roofers.
    • 24 out of every 100,000 professional roofers die from roofing accident falls.
    • 52 out of every 10,000 professional roofers suffer injuries from roofing accidents.

    All roofers must have fall protection whenever they are above 6 feet off the ground. In addition, roofers must have fall protection when they are working on walkways, hoist areas, ramps, overhand bricklaying, runways, and unprotected sites.

    Common Causes of Roofing Accidents

    Certain factors contribute to roofing accidents more often than other situations. Many roofers face these risks on a daily basis due to the nature of the job.

    • Weather conditions. Roofers often have to work in extremely hot conditions and face the sun beating down on them while they are on the roof. As a result, roofers can develop heatstroke, sun burns, and other heat-related conditions.
    • Lack of safety equipment. Roofers must have appropriate safety equipment in certain conditions and while working on a roof. Without this equipment, roofers can slip and fall off a roof.
    • Roofers often work with electric materials and wiring while completing their jobs. Live wires and other situations can electrocute the roofer, causing severe burns and other injuries.
    • Scaffolding collapse. Roofers use scaffolding to climb onto a roof and reach high places while working. If a scaffold is not properly set up and collapses underneath the roofer, a roofer can fall and suffer severe injuries.
    • Roof collapse. A roof can collapse underneath a roofer when he or she is standing on top of it. As a result, the roofer can plummet into the house and onto the floors below, hitting dangerous objects and sustaining severe injuries.
    • Falling debris and objects. Roofers can suffer injuries even when they are not on the roof. Falling debris and objects from the work happening above can hit roofers on the ground below, causing head injuries.
    • Slips and falls. Rain, leaves, and other materials can cause a roof to be slippery, increasing a roofer’s risk of slipping off the surface. Roofers can also trip over uneven surfaces and tools on the roof and fall off.
    • Malfunctioning equipment. Any tools and other equipment that roofers use can cause injuries to a worker, from electrocution injuries to lacerations.

    Common Roofing Accident Injuries

    • In Texas, some areas can reach high temperatures of well over 100 degrees. High heat and heavy physical activity are dangerous when combined. Roofers who work in these conditions can develop heatstroke and severe sun burns.
    • Repetitive motion injuries. These injuries are common in most professions. When a roofer performs the same basic motion over and over again, he or she can develop nerve damage and tendinitis. From hammering to bending and carrying heavy loads, roofers can develop painful injuries.
    • Fall impact injuries. The most common roofing accident is a fall from a roof. Falls are extremely dangerous, causing broken bones, head trauma, and torn ligaments. Falls can lead to permanent damage such as spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

    The injuries sustained by roofers in these situations can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Without quick medical attention, many roofers can die as the result of their injuries.

  4. What Is the Longshore Act (LHWCA) in Texas?

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    When you suffer injuries on the job, you may receive benefits through workers’ compensation from your employer. Usually, this compensation covers medical costs, lost wages, and certain additional expenses related to your injury and illness. Certain industries have special forms of workers’ compensation, and the maritime industry is no exception. Offshore maritime workers receive coverage through the Jones Act and longshoremen and harbor workers receive coverage from the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

    Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

    LHWCA provides specialized workers’ compensation coverage to maritime workers not covered under the Jones Act. To receive Jones Act coverage, a maritime worker must prove that he or she has seaman status. However, not all maritime workers qualify for these benefits. To fill this gap, LHWCA provides coverage to over 500,000 workers in the following positions.

    • Workers on docks and harbors
    • Workers who suffer injuries in navigable waters of the United States
    • Workers in certain maritime occupations, such as longshoremen, ship builders, and ship repairers
    • Workers injured in areas used for loading, unloading, building, and repairing certain vessels

    If you receive Jones Act coverage, you cannot receive LHWCA coverage. You may also be exempt from LHWCA coverage if you receive state coverage. Speaking to a workers’ compensation or maritime attorney can help you determine what coverage you are eligible for.

    What Benefits Does LHWCA Provide?

    If you receive coverage under LHWCA, you are eligible for certain benefits to help you recover after a workplace injury. Like all workers’ compensation insurance requirements, you must directly tie your injury or illness to your workplace activities to receive the following benefits.

    • All reasonable and required medical expenses to treat your injury or illness
    • Expenses related to vocational rehabilitation after your injury or illness
    • Compensation for permanent disabilities and impairments due to the injury or illness
    • Compensation for lost income equal to two-thirds of average weekly wages for the length of your recovery from the injury or illness
    • Death benefits in the amount of 50% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, payable to the deceased’s spouse and/or surviving children

    How to File for LHWCA Benefits

    To receive coverage for work-related injuries or illnesses under LHWCA, you must notify your employer of your condition within 30 days after the accident happened or you discover your illness. After you inform your employer, he or she must file a formal LHWCA claim so that you can receive benefits. If your employer does not file your LHWCA claim in a timely manner, he or she can face penalties.

    Benefits of a Maritime Attorney for Your LHWCA Claim

    Filing a LHWCA claim can be a difficult and stressful process. Your attorney will need to prove the validity of your injuries, prove that your work functions caused the injury, and prove your need for benefits. Receiving compensation lower than what you need to recover can set you back hundreds and even thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages.

    A maritime attorney can help guide you through the LHWCA process and assist you in receiving the benefits you need. If your employer fails to file your LHWCA claim in a timely manner, causing you to lose benefits, your attorney can help you pursue legal action as well. A maritime lawyer can provide multiple benefits for your LHWCA claim.

    • The time, skills, and resources necessary to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of your injury or illness
    • An in-depth knowledge of maritime law, including LHWCA eligibility and benefits
    • Experience guiding maritime workers through the LHWCA claims process
    • A network of medical experts to consult on your injury or illness

    If you experience issues with your LHWCA claim, contact a maritime attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and pursue your compensation.

  5. What Are the Most Dangerous Professions in Texas?

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    Many jobs are inherently dangerous due to their proximity to heavy equipment, high risk situations, and other environmental hazards. In Texas, certain jobs are more dangerous than others due to their reputation of high workplace deaths and injuries. These positions usually have strict safety procedures and guidelines necessary to keep workers safe.

    Oil, Gas, and Drilling Workers

    Texas’s oil industry is well-known around the country. Oil industry workers often bear the risks in oil-related occupational injury and death. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 39 Texas oil, gas, and drilling workers die each year due to injuries suffered on the job. Since the oil fields are usually in remote areas, these workers cannot seek emergency medical attention as quickly as other professions can.

    Tractor-Trailer Drivers

    Driving a truck requires significant training and the attainment of a special driver’s license, and likewise comes with a major set of risks. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, truck driving is the state’s deadliest occupation. Truck drivers are 57% more likely to suffer fatal injuries on the job than other Texas workers. This is due to the fact that truck accidents are most often fatal because of the size and weight of the vehicles involved.

    Construction Workers

    Following big rig drivers in the highest number of work-related deaths are construction workers. According the Texas Department of Insurance, approximately 82 construction workers died from fatal workplace injuries in 2012. Construction workers encounter several high-risk situations on the job, such as falling off scaffolds, injuries from falling objects, machinery mishaps, and electrocution.

    Agriculture, Fishing, Forest, and Hunting Industries

    Working outdoors comes with its own set of risks. While this category is quite broad, these positions encompass farmers, ranchers, fisherman, foresters, agricultural managers, and other related professions. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, 203,165 non-fatal work injuries occurred in Texas in 2012. Out of these injuries, 3.9% of them were related to these positions in fishing, forestry, hunting, and agriculture.

    Steel Workers

    In the category of construction jobs, steel workers specifically have an extremely dangerous position. These workers are some of the most vulnerable people in the construction industry and can suffer significant injuries from the nature of their work, using hot materials and heavy machinery. Steel working is a dangerous job nationally, as well as within Texas – each year, an average of 37 employees per every 1,000 employees die from work-related injuries.

    Sanitation Workers

    Collecting garbage, recyclables, and other waste from Texas homes also comes with its own set of risks. Spending lots of time on the road can lead to accidents and collisions that cause injury to trash collectors. In addition, the heavy equipment that these workers operate can crush and mangle someone who becomes stuck. Trash collectors also have to come in contact with hazardous materials, which can cause illness and poisoning.

    Maintenance Workers

    Texas workers involved in installation, maintenance, and repair are also at a high risk of injury and death. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, 44 of these workers died from injuries from workplace accidents. In addition to the fatalities, many workers suffer from non-fatal injuries ranging in severity from mild to permanently disabling.

    Roofing Employees

    Another dangerous profession in the construction industry is roofers. Many roofing accidents occur throughout Texas every single year. Due to the nature of the position, falls from roofs cause the majority of injuries that lead to death for these employees. Not all of these accidents are fatal; many roofers suffer from life-altering injuries.

    If a worker suffers an injury on the job in Texas, he or she may receive workers’ compensation. This insurance can help pay for any medical costs, lost wages, and other damages suffered as the result of a work-related injury.