Toxic Substances: Their Illness-causing Effects Go Beyond the Workplace

Work-related injuries and work-related illnesses caused by regular exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace always register a high rate of claims lawsuit in the U.S. While all types of workers may be exposed to risk of injury or illness, some of those in the greatest danger are people in the construction business where hazardous chemicals are always present and regularly used.

Toxic chemicals can surely inflict harm on anyone who is not properly suited when handling these substances or who is exposed to these substances every day. Worst, the workers themselves are not the only ones who may be harmed by these substances: family members, who come in contact with the fumes or harmful fibers which stick to workers’ clothes or skin, as well as residents who live near areas where these substances are used and stored, can be harmed too. And if an illness actually develops, its symptoms and harmful effects are usually not immediately obvious; there have been many occasions, in fact, when the harmful effects of substances became manifest only after months or years have already passed.

Toxic substances can cause skin rashes and, if its fumes get inhaled often, this can cause disease in the lungs, kidney, or liver. The most common substances that can cause these medical problems are disinfectants, acids, solvents, caustic substances, pesticides, petroleum products, glue and heavy metals (like aluminum, cadmium, lead and mercury).

To help ensure the safety of workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a by-product of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 which is tasked to ensure the protection of every worker in the workplace, put into effect the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in 1986. The HSC, also called the Right-to-Know law or the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation, mandates employers to inform workers about the hazardous and toxic substances found and used in the workplace.

Though OSHA has significantly reduced the number of workplace accidents since its creation in 1971, 4,500 fatalities and 4.1 million serious injuries every year continue to be recorded. This is because so many employers continue to ignore OSHA’s stipulations on safety standard, others, though, just have very poor management style: these directly result to acts of negligence.

As pointed out in the website of the Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, law firm, exposure to toxic substances can be due to failure to quarantine toxic chemicals; chemical explosions or fires; failure to provide workers with protective gear or equipment; chemical spills; and, failure to find toxic chemicals in demolished materials.

Employers face great responsibility towards those they may harm due to very poor ways of handling toxic substances. A person, who develops an illness and suspects that this is due to his or her exposure to toxic substances, may find it wise to contact immediately a personal injury lawyer who can explain to him or her the possible legal action he or she may be able to pursue.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

With the advent of this year’s Super Bowl Sunday on February 7 and the latest release of 47-year-old Willard Carroll “Will” Smith, Jr.’s new movie, concussion, parents are reminded once again that football is a very dangerous sport, what with its capacity to inflict players with the most critical of head injuries – the concussion.

Parents of high school and college football players certainly have reservations when it comes to being happy for their children, who are playing for their dreams and sports aspirations. However, Lurie Children’s director of trauma at the division of general pediatric surgery and at the same time Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine assistant professor of surgery Rashmi Kabre says that concussions may not only occur during football accidents but in fact happen more frequently during activities like skateboarding, biking, sledding, climbing, skiing, car or all-terrain vehicle riding, among others.

For her part, Lurie Children’s medical director at the Institute for Sports Medicine and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics Cynthia LaBella said that the Concussion movie is portraying a very specific kind of concussion injury. She claims that the type of brain injury featured in the movie – chronic traumatic brain encephalopathy – is caused by multiple trauma to the head that can only be gained by accidents spanning an entire football career. That type of disease is characterized by progressive brain damage and significant changes to the brain’s structure, whereas a concussion causes only temporary changes to the brain’s function and does not alter its structure.

According to attorneys at the Abel Law Firm, concussions – granted that they have the same impact and force – can cause different children to experience different levels of brain effects. Textbook symptoms of them include confusion, loss of consciousness, vomiting, dizziness, headache, among others, with some less obvious signs including new-onset emotional instability, mood swings, forgetfulness, nervousness, agitation, inability to concentrate, and unusual sleeping patterns.

Cruise Ship Excursions: Common Hazards and Accidents

Plenty of people consider going on a cruise as the ideal way to travel and experience many different locales. While on a cruise ship, one can make their journey towards the destination while enjoying the comfort provided by the many amenities and attractions available on board. Tourists can also enjoy the breathtaking view provided by the open sea as they may their way from one stop to the next. It comes as no surprise that cruise ships are enjoyed by vacationers of all ages.

The experience becomes even more enjoyable once cruise ship passengers reach their destination and take part on excursions and other in-land activities. Many cruise lines provide their passengers with the choice to take part in a variety of activities they can enjoy while the ship is docked in a given location. Travellers can try snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and kayaking, as well as hiking and horseback riding. Some ships also provide the opportunity to eco-cultural tours.

Unfortunately, certain incidents that could take place in these cruise ship excursions may put the safety of passengers at risk. As noted by the website of the cruise ship lawyers at The Vucci Law Group, P.A., there have been plenty of cases when excursions and in-land activities end in accidents caused by certain hazards and errors. In some occasions, these accidents are serious enough to cause injuries.

The following are just common examples of excursion hazards and accidents:

  • Dock Accidents – Cruise ships that fail to properly dock could cause sudden lurching and other unexpected movements that lead to slip and fall accidents.
  • Tender Accidents – Before going on excursions, passengers are transported from the ship to the shore through small boats called tenders. Accidents can happen while people are boarding and disembarking this vehicle, as well as if the tender is being operated by a reckless driver.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents – While on the excursions itself, passengers are transported from different venues in cars that could be susceptible to collisions.
  • Defective Equipment Accidents – Malfunctioning equipment and defective gear can also make excursion activities particularly dangerous for passengers.

Distracted Driving: One Common Cause of Car Accidents

The frequency by which car accidents occur in the United States is becoming more and more alarming in recent years. According to the website of Spiros Law, P.C., data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that more than 6 million motor vehicle crashes were reported in the year 2007. For the following year, around 34,000 car accident fatalities were reported.

One of the most common reasons behind why these accidents continue to occur is distracted driving. For the year 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,154 fatal vehicular crashes were caused by distracted driving. In particular, data shows that drivers in these cases were mostly focused on texting or using their mobile phones while driving their vehicles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC generally defines distracted driving as instances when a driver is operating are or her vehicle while doing another activity at the same time. It is considered potentially dangerous because it causes a driver to split his or her attention between two different things. The CDC identifies 3 different situations that describe what happens when a driver is distracted behind the wheel. Visual distraction refers to situations when drivers take their eyes off the road. Meanwhile, manual distraction refers to scenarios when drivers take their hands off the stirring wheel of the car. Lastly, cognitive distraction is used to refer to situations when a driver becomes absent minded while operating a vehicle. The use of mobile phones while driving is a combination of all these three different kinds of distracted behavior.

Distracted driving may seem like a minor infraction compared to serious traffic violations such as speeding and driving while under the influence (DUI). Still, it’s worth noting that it can still lead to losing control of one’s vehicle and unintentionally causing a collision to occur. According to the website of the Oklahoma car accident attorneys from Abel Law Firm, distracted driving can cause victims to suffer long-term consequences resulting from injuries like brain trauma and whiplash.

What Happens in Explosion Accidents

Explosions involve the extreme and powerful release of energy and high temperature. As such, it’s easy to see why such an even can be extremely dangerous and catastrophic. Explosions are known to result in very severe and mostly fatal injuries. They cause rapid bursts of flames and gases, as well as strong shock waves that can damage anything within a specific radius near the site of the accident.

Those that are present in the area where an explosion occurs are likely to suffer from a host of traumatic injuries. One of the most common injuries sustained by people involved in explosion accidents are severe burn. Damage to the lungs and other internal organs are also typical outcomes of these devastating scenarios. Respiratory damage is caused by hazardous gases and smoke omitted by an explosion, while other types of internal trauma can be due to crushing injuries. Other common explosion injuries include severe lacerations, broken bones, loss of limb, and brain damage.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, explosions are caused by a number of risk factors. However, the most common causes of explosion accidents involve the accumulation of flammable gases in poorly ventilated areas. Failure to properly secure and handle certain combustible materials can also result in explosions. This is why explosions are a common industrial accident, typically happening in chemical or manufacturing plants. In some cases, explosion accidents can also occur in residential areas due to leaks in gas pipelines, tankers, or stoves.

Fortunately, these terrible accidents can be prevented as proper safety precautions are followed. In the workplace, employers can significantly reduce the risk of explosions by maintaining a work environment that follows all the required protocols mandated by the law. Any Milwaukee personal injury attorney could probably explain how appropriate maintenance and upkeep of pipelines could spare residential buildings from the devastation of explosions. Explosion accident victims who suffer trauma because these standards have not been met can pursue legal action.

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