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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety protocol in the oil and gas industry is critical

People working in the gas or oil industry deserve a safe workplace. The problem is that there are many hazards employers can't remove. Instead, they have to find ways to minimize these risks for workers.

There are several options that companies can rely on to help increase safety. Putting these in a comprehensive plan and relaying that plan to all employees can be beneficial. In the absence of a clear protocol, employees can suffer injuries due to accidents.

Multi-vehicle truck crash in LA kills one and injures others

Accidents involving large trucks can often be unpredictable. Sometimes, the occupants of smaller vehicles are lucky in a collision with a big rig and escape with minor injuries. In many other cases, however, those who are involved in truck crashes in Louisiana and elsewhere are seriously injured or killed. Numerous factors come into play, particularly the size, speed and difficulty in maneuverability of 18-wheelers.

One such crash that occurred last August on Interstate 10 near Baton Rouge highlights the devastating impact of truck crashes that involve multiple vehicles. CDLLife reported that the collision involved five commercial vehicles and one passenger vehicle over the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. Authorities believe the incident was comprised of three different crashes, which combined into a significant pileup. Two of the trucks were hauling flammable material, which caused a fire that spread throughout the other vehicles. Five people were injured and hospitalized, and at least one person was said to have died in the crash. Authorities were still investigating what caused the accident, as well as attempting to determine if the heat of the fire caused structural damage to the bridge and would pose a danger to future motorists.

Personal Protective Equipment for construction sites

Employers and workers may greatly reduce the chance of injuries on a Louisiana construction site by following safety protocols and using proper equipment. Adequate Personal Protective Equipment is essential for every person who works on a construction site. There are several types of PPE designed to protect an individual from injuries. Some kinds of PPE provide general protection in a construction environment while other types help maintain safety in specific situations.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that construction jobs have high rates of fatal injuries compared to other industries. In 2017, the fatal injury rate for the construction industry was 9.5 per 100,000 workers. Nearly half of all worker fatalities in that year came from transportation, construction and extraction occupations. The most common fatal events were transportation accidents and falls. Other occupational fatalities came from contact with harmful substances and accidents involving equipment.

The dangers of taking selfies while driving

As drivers are navigating the Louisiana roadways alongside large commercial trucks, motorcyclists and other vehicles, it may seem common sense that their focus should remain on the road. Yet, an alarming number of motorists find it acceptable to use their cellphones while behind the wheel. This occurs even after a number of social campaigns have emerged notifying motorists of the dangers associated with using their cellphones while driving. Thousands of people are killed and injured every year as a result of distracted driving. One trend is taking cellphone use a step further and involves people taking selfies of themselves driving and posting the pics on social media platforms. 

A look on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat show many people engaging in the hazardous act of posting selfies. Instagram alone shows more than 9,700 posts under #drivingtowork and 3,727 under #drivingselfie. Whenever a driver takes their focus off the road and places it on another task, such as taking selfies and posting it onto social media, they are unable to quickly respond to other matters, such as bad weather conditions, animals running out into the road, pedestrians, traffic signals, stop signs and other hazards. 

What should you do if a crew member falls overboard?

When you work on a boat in Louisiana, you have to look out for many hazards. One dangerous situation you might encounter is a man overboard. If this happens, it is important to know what to do.

When one of your crew members falls overboard, it is important to take action immediately. Marine Insight says you should yell "man overboard" as soon as you realize someone has fallen off the ship. Additionally, you should say whether your crew member fell off the port or starboard side, as well as use the whistle to let the rest of the crew know what happened. It is also a good idea to use the public address system to ensure everyone understands the situation. Additionally, you may want to put extra people on lookout.

Chemical burns: Preventable injuries that are very serious

People who work on certain seafaring vessels and those who work in factories are sometimes exposed to dangerous chemicals. It is imperative that all employers take the time to establish proper protocol to prevent chemical burns, but they also need to ensure that all employees know and follow protocol.

Each chemical used at a business should have a material safety data sheet for it. This information should be readily available to the employees. It outlines exactly what needs to be done to keep the users safe and to address any safety mishaps.

Why driving at night is more deadly

Once the sun sets in Louisiana, drivers still fill the roadways. Many people are coming home from work, running errands and escaping their home for a night out with friends. As a result, the roads can still be quite busy, even in low light conditions. What you may not realize is that you face an increased danger when driving at night than during the day. AAA reports that you are three times more likely to die in a car accident during nighttime hours than you are during the day. So what exactly is to blame for this increased risk and what can you do about it?

One of the main reasons why there is this increased risk comes from the lack of natural light. People experience difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, as it affects your peripheral vision and depth perception. As a result, it can be hard to determine the speed and distance of an oncoming vehicle at night. It is critical that you always remain cautious when driving at night. This is especially important for older drivers, as they require greater amounts of natural light to see than do younger drivers. 

What defines a catastrophic injury?

If you were in a car accident, injured at work or otherwise hurt, your injuries may seem like a catastrophe to you, especially when you are in serous pain and have not yet fully recovered. However, “catastrophic injuries” has a certain meaning in the legal community, which you and other Louisiana residents may find interesting to learn about.

According to FindLaw, a catastrophic injury entails more than the suffering you would feel while recovering from something like a broken leg or a minor concussion. Catastrophic injuries are those that would seriously and permanently disable you, in most cases rendering you unable to work and significantly impacting your quality of life. If you are able to recover from a catastrophic injury, it could take months or years. The following examples illustrate several types of catastrophic injuries:

  • A traumatic brain injury you sustained after falling down a flight of icy stairs
  • Internal injuries following a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver
  • Broken bones from being struck by a car while walking across the street or riding your bicycle
  • Third-degree burns after a house fire started by a faulty appliance

The dangers of using hands-free cellphones while driving

In many states, drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while navigating the roadways. Distracted driving is involved in thousands of car accidents every year. Although it is not against the law for drivers in Louisiana to use a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel, it certainly is not a good idea. Many drivers have started using hands-free cellphones to minimize distraction. Yet, even hands-free cellphones can cause catastrophic car accidents that can injure and kill innocent people. 

A study published by AAA looked at just how distracting hands-free cellphones are when compared to hand-held cell phones and other destructive activities. Researchers asked participants to perform a number of tasks while driving a simulator vehicle as well as a car set up with monitors. The tasks included the following:

3 specific injuries that can impact those on seafaring vessels

People who work on ships are often faced with some very serious hazards. These can produce grave injuries that can lead to needing time off work and could even be career ending.

As you head in for your time on the vessel, remember that you are in control of what you do. This, however, doesn't mean that you are responsible for all of the safety components on the ship. Instead, your employer is the one who has the duty of making sure that you have a safe place to work on the vessel.

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