Charges dropped in fatal dump truck accident

As we have previously noted, there are many ways to be injured or killed on a construction site. From falls to being crushed by heavy equipment, workers safety demands constant vigilance on the part of everyone on the work site. The more unusual risks, caused by defective or poorly maintained equipment are dangerous and certainly kill and maim far too many workers, but sometimes, it may be the ordinary that is just as deadly.

A large number of workers are killed every year in construction accidents involving motor vehicle accidents on and around construction site. While falls tend to kill in injury many workers, accidents involving all variety of motor vehicles pose a significant threat to all construction workers.

This is not surprising, because on many job sites, workers have to drive while on the site and many have to drive to other sites or to pick up supplies, tools and other equipment. They are exposed to the risk of negligent drivers on the streets and highways, just as every driver and they are also at risk on construction sites, where there may be no “roads” and vehicles and trucks are everywhere.

At a construction site in Wyoming, one man was run over and killed by the driver of a dump truck on a site. The driver had been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, apparently because he had spent the previous night drinking and prosecutors must have believed he was still drunk when he caused the fatal accident.

A judge dismissed the charges because of a lack of evidence concerning the truck driver’s actual intoxication level at the time of the accident. She also noted there was insufficient evidence as to whether his driving was reckless.

Was the truck driver drunk? We will never know for sure, but it serves as a reminder that what would be a pedestrian accident if it occurred away from a job site can kill you just the same on a site.

Source: Billingsgazette.com, “Charge dismissed in fatal Gillette construction accident,” Associated Press, January 26, 2014

Nursing home fire kills five residents

A fire this week that tore through a nursing home in Quebec reminded us that sprinklers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are one of the most important safety features a facility can offer. In the Quebec fire, the facility, which was described by one official as “modern and very well kept,” lacked sprinklers in the older portion of the facility.

The fire resulted in five deaths. Fires in nursing homes are inherently horrific, as many of the residents are unable to move from their beds because of age or other physical limitations. Others may suffer from dementia or similar mental disorders and not recognize the threat, even as fire alarms sound.

In Canada, the Provence of Quebec did not require the installation of sprinklers in the facility, but some Provinces do. The fire occurred in a nursing home that only had partial sprinkler protection. This is similar to the situation in some nursing homes in the U.S.

Last year was to be the year that all nursing homes in the U.S. had to have sprinklers installed, but that was five years later than the law originally mandated. The nursing home industry requested additional time to comply. Some facilities still may not be in full compliance.

When you are looking for a home for an elderly parent in New York, checking to see if the facility complies with the regulations is an important factor to consider. Many facilities may not fully comply and, like the facility that burned in Quebec, may have only partial sprinkler coverage. Ask specifically if the entire building is protected.

As an advocate for seniors in Canada, noted, “These fires are entirely foreseeable situations.”

Source: The Globe and Mail, “Sprinkler rules back on the agenda after deadly Quebec fire,” January 24, 2014

Man lift accident leaves construction worker severely hurt

It can be very dangerous when unsafe conditions arise in relation to a piece of equipment during construction work. Examples of things that can lead to unsafe conditions arising in relation to a piece of equipment include failure by a construction company to keep the equipment in proper working order and failure by a construction company to teach their employees how to operate the equipment in a safe and proper manner. It is incredibly important for construction companies that operate here in New York to not commit such failures, as construction workers can get severely hurt in equipment-related accidents.

Recently, a construction accident involving a piece of equipment occurred in another state.

The accident happened at a power plant in Alaska on Jan. 18. That day, two carpenters who worked for a contractor were doing some construction work regarding garage door trim installation at the plant. One of the carpenters was operating a man lift. The man lift then struck and pinned the other carpenter. The hit worker was critically injured in the accident and was taken to a hospital, where a precautionary surgical procedure was performed on him.

Authorities are currently looking into the accident.

Given the major costs injuries suffered in a construction accident can lead to a worker facing, the issue of what sorts of relief can be sought in relation to a construction accident can be a very important one for a hurt construction worker. Personal injury attorneys can conduct investigations into construction accidents and can help victims pursue appropriate relief.

Source: Anchorage Daily News, “Construction worker critically injured at MEA power plant,” Tegan Hanlon, Jan. 21, 2014

Diabetes test now recommended for all pregnancies

Pregnancy is always special. The birth of a new life holds so much hope and promise, but not every pregnancy goes as planned. While most of the 4 million births that occur every year are straightforward, some are not. And of those, some result in birth injuries to the child and a few bring complications that can threaten the life of the mother.

Gestational diabetes is one of those conditions. Every year in the U.S., about 240,000 women experience gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. It can cause an increased size in the child, which can lead to birth injuries like a dislocated shoulder or broken collarbones. Women with the condition may have to deliver via a cesarean section.

Most dangerously, the gestational diabetes may be a precursor to preeclampsia. This condition, sometimes known as pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) or toxemia, can lead to extremely high blood pressure, seizures, strokes and in some cases, the death of the mother.

Because of these risks, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has now issued a recommendation that all pregnant women be tested for gestational diabetes after 24 weeks.

Another factor behind the recommendation is that more mothers are overweight or age 25 or older, both of which increase the risk of the condition. Better awareness of the risk can allow the diabetes to be controlled by diet alone in most cases.

In severe cases, when preeclampsia develops early in the pregnancy, doctors need to keep a close eye on the mother. The only treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the child, which may leave a doctor the difficult choice of an extremely premature birth or risking a stroke or seizure in the mother.

Source: KPLU 88.5, “Doctors Recommend Universal Diabetes Testing For Pregnant Women,” Nancy Shute, Jan. 14, 2014