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Senate Committee Looks Into Bay Bridge Safety

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 27, 2014

The Bay Bridge continues to be in the spotlight on the heels of a report that called into question procedures enacted by Caltrans during construction of the bridge, with some worrying that the structure could suffer from safety deficiencies.  The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee recently held a hearing on the matter, and two engineers that were interviewed at that hearing tentatively expressed their opinion that the bridge was safe, although they did have concerns.  One pointed out that he hadn’t been involved in six years while another explained that the bridge may require additional work in the future to ensure safety for years to come.  Those two engineers were allegedly taken off of the project after pointing out potential safety problems about the welds.

Follow this link for more information.

An Examination Of Hot Air Balloon Safety

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 10, 2014

A new report from National Public Radio takes a look at the state of hot air balloon safety.  Between 2000 and 2011, there have been 169 incidents in which such a conveyance crashed to the ground, leading to various injuries and five fatalities.  One doctor interviewed for the story noted that injuries are usually fractures to the lower body, so caused by the balloon coming down hard on solid ground and causing persons inside to suffer leg damage.  One current problem with hot air ballooning might be the fact that the preflight briefing to passengers, a requirement, is not standardized, and thus the relative worth of those briefings is hard to judge.  The aforementioned doctor noted the importance of wearing a helmet and paying attention to the briefing anyway.

Follow this link for the full report.

Make Parades As Safe As Possible

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 6, 2014

The Rose Parade was held last week in Pasadena, and thousands of citizens from around California and the rest of the country descended on the area to take part in festivities and to take in a football game.

There are numerous opportunities for various types of parades throughout the state at other times of the year, and parade accidents are a distinct possibility during such events.  Thankfully, there are ways in which the danger can be minimized.  A new report relates some of the findings from the National Transportation Safety Board’s review of various parade policies from around the country, and their insights can help parade planners anywhere come up with the type of plans that can keep visitors as safe as possible.

For instance, there are certain things that could contribute to a fire, and therefore eliminating these threats from the parade floats and routes could improve safety.  The storage of fuel or the usage of generators should be minimized, and when you absolutely must have these things on hand for the parade, usage should be carried out in an appropriate manner.  Space heaters and open flames also deserve caution, especially around parade floats that could go up like kindling if exposed to high heat.

The actions that take place on and along parade floats can also dictate whether or not an injury is going to occur.  You’ve likely attended a parade where persons are sitting on the back of a truck throwing out candy and other treats to persons along the route.  Unfortunately, such an activity compromises safety in two regards:  the persons throwing things are at risk of falling, and those along the route who have their sights set on a given item (like children scavenging for candy) will go after that item without caution.  A rule barring this activity may help.  It might be better for people to walk along the route and hand things out, provided they’re not hopping on and off vehicles.

You also want people at the wheel who are capable of safely navigating the route.  Drivers obviously should be barred from having drugs or alcohol in their systems, but they also have to understand less obvious precautions like keeping speed to a minimum and not abruptly hitting the brakes or gas unless absolutely necessary to avoid an accident.  Cellphones should be put down and the driver ought to scan his or her environment at all times so that they can react if a child, an animal, or even an adult cuts across the path.

Finally, make sure there is someone available who actually can put these rules together and come up with a route that is safe for all involved.

Don’t Let Your Car Or Your Pipes Freeze

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on January 6, 2014

If you’re in an excessively cold environment, or are even just passing through in an automobile, you have to know the steps to take to protect yourself from danger.  To that end, consider the safety tips available from a new report.

There are certain things related to your automobile that you simply might not think about that will nevertheless wreak havoc on safety.  For instance, if your vehicle has been out in the elements for a few weeks or months without a wash, the temptation will be to wash it, regardless of the temperature.  This is a bad idea, as the water that is left over can actually freeze your car solid.  Wait to wash your vehicle until it’s a little bit warmer outside.

Windshield wiper fluid can also freeze if the temperature is cold enough.  Let your car warm up before putting it into drive so that you can be sure the windshield is warm when the fluid hits it.  That way, freezing isn’t a possibility.

If you fear that your pipes could freeze, run a steady trickle of warm water through the pipes so that there’s no danger.  Opening sink cabinets (assuming that there aren’t chemicals that children could get ahold of there) can allow the pipes to warm, further preventing freezing.

Minimize Slip And Fall Risks In Icy Environments

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on December 31, 2013

We may not live in Minnesota, where the tips on hand from a new report hail from, but there may still be certain parts of California where the buildup of ice is a possibility.  Therefore, persons on foot always have to be cognizant of the threat posed by a slip and fall, and the aforementioned report explains how to avoid danger in this regard.

If you live in an area where snow and ice can crop up, you have to be ready to remove the buildup from your property to keep yourself, your family, and any visitors safe.  The last thing you want is to be held liable for any accidents that occur when someone slips on a patch of your property that should have been kept clear.  Have salt ready to go to scatter on ice, and when that doesn’t cut it, be ready to take a shovel to the affected area.

You also want to wear the appropriate clothing whenever you head out the door, whether you’re staying on your own property or going elsewhere.  Get shoes that provide traction sufficient for gripping the ice beneath your feet.  Keep a cellphone on you at all times so if you do sustain a fall, and you happen to be by yourself, you can call for assistance in order to avoid the more serious damage that could occur if prompt treatment isn’t sought.

Finally, take particular caution tonight.  If alcohol is on the New Year’s Eve agenda and you’re in a cold environment, minimize your time outdoors, and if you’re with a group of people, do what you can to make sure everyone makes it home safe.

NTSB Recommendations Focus On Improving Rail Transit Safety

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on December 20, 2013

This past October, the safety policies of Bay Area Rapid Transit came into question after two workers were struck by a train that was traveling down the tracks.  The scrutiny was applied to something called simple approval, a process that requires employees on the tracks to take safety into their own hands, looking down the tracks to determine if there are incoming trains.  No type of alert system is used to signal those workers.

On the heels of that tragedy, the National Transportation Safety Board has come out with new recommendations that they believe could help ensure safety in the future.  These recommendations, which have been deemed urgent, are being made to the Federal Transit Administration so that incidents like the one described above won’t happen again.

The Chairwoman of the NTSB has sent the head of the FTA a letter outlining how the agency should immediately communicate to various transit agencies around the county the need for the installation of redundant protection.  That would begin by eliminating all policies that ask workers to simply try to spot trains without any additional protections.

Those additional protections could take a number of forms.  Drivers could be alerted to worker presence and then be required to slow down or halt their progress entirely until the track is cleared.  Work may itself not be conducted unless a shunt sending a stop signal to incoming trains is installed.

Hopefully, these redundant protections will soon become mandatory everywhere.

Investigation Highlights The Explosion Danger Posed By Gas Canisters

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on December 5, 2013

Many persons will tote around a gasoline canister without thinking anything about the potential perils of these items.  The red container has become a fairly standard sight in homes and business across the country, but NBC News recently came out with an investigation that found serious accidents associated with these products may be rare but are still more common than you might realize.

Since 1998, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been able to record 1,200 trips to the emergency room associated with a gasoline canister.  There have also been 11 fatalities that have occurred in conjunction with the hazard.

What can happen in certain cases is that the vapors that reside within the canister can react in a certain way that triggers an explosion.  Tests from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute showed that these explosions are possible when the canister has a minimal amount of gas inside.  If the vapor emanating from a plastic canister when opened makes contact with some type of open flame, that ignition can essentially make its way back to the can, leading to an explosion that can do serious damage to the person holding it.

The report notes that 80 product liability lawsuits have been filed as persons contend that they were provided with a dangerous item.  Many of these claims point out that flame arresters could help mitigate the explosion hazard.

Avoiding The Emergency Room Through The End of 2013

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on December 4, 2013

You can expect a lot of articles in the media over the coming weeks focused on how to stay safe in the lead-up to the holidays, and with good reason.  There are a number of hazards at this time of the year that get overlooked, and those hazards can end up sending you to the hospital when all you want to do is celebrate the holidays with loved ones.  Thankfully, a new report features some important safety advice from a number of doctors in Pennsylvania that all holiday revelers could benefit from.

Although it may seem ridiculous to think about, there’s actually a fairly substantial number of injuries that result from something as seemingly mundane as opening a Christmas gift.  In fact, the report references The Patient Poll, which found that a full 17% of citizens in the state of Pennsylvania either know someone who was injured in this manner or were themselves the victim of such an injury.

If you’re unwrapping standard wrapping paper, then there probably won’t be a problem.  However, some people will bring out scissors or a knife to get through boxes that can’t easily be pried open, and when frustration mounts, an injury could arise when that sharp item slips from your grasp.  You may also end up cutting yourself on sealed plastic that when broken apart may form jagged edges.  Be careful in either situation.

This is also the time of the year when people tend to lose track of what they’re putting into their system.  An individual at a holiday party could drink far too much alcohol, something that proves dangerous if that person then gets behind the wheel.  Stay in control no matter the situation.  Plan ahead to have a designated driver or alternate transportation if you’re going to drink.

Also watch your caffeine intake.  You may feel that you need to consume an energy drink or excessive amounts of coffee to get through the exhausting holidays, but you should never let these take the place of proper rest.  Although you may receive a temporary boost, when fatigue does set in, it will hit you fast, and you don’t want to be behind the wheel of an automobile when that happens.

You also want to approach prescription drugs safely.  If you have a medicine cabinet filled with prescriptions from times past and you throw a holiday party with a bunch of people, the last thing you want is for someone to pilfer your leftover medications for their own recreational use.  When you’re through with a prescription, get rid of it appropriately; your community may have some type of program in place for just such a thing.

Finally, don’t let distractions of the holidays carry over into driving.  If you’re on the way to pick up a gift, a text to someone asking what they want for Christmas can wait until you’re parked.

Approach Downed Power Lines In A Safe Manner

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on December 3, 2013

When inclement weather hits, a number of hazards can be created that make a standard commute feel like more of an obstacle course than it already is.  At such times, one of the biggest threats you could face is navigating a road that has been littered with the debris from downed power lines.  A new report provides some safety tips from a company called Rocky Mountain Power, and they’re worth considering should you ever draw near to power lines during a commute.

The most important thing to remember is to keep your distance, whether on foot or in a car.  There don’t have to be visible sparks in order for a danger to be present.  A live wire won’t necessarily look like it could pose a threat until someone makes contact.

Instead, try taking another route, asking that anyone who may be with you get back as far as they can.  You should alert the police and the power agency so that officials can get in right away to take account of and fix the damage as soon as possible.

What you shouldn’t do is try to drive over a power line as if it wasn’t any big deal.  You should also know what to do if the lines actually end up draped over your vehicle.  Don’t try to get in if you’re outside, and if you’re already in, stay there until you can get emergency assistance.  Do not allow those without experience to attempt to extricate you from the car.

Boost Personal Safety On Black Friday

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on November 27, 2013

Even as some people tuck in for a night at home eating turkey and watching football tomorrow, there will be some who are already looking past Thanksgiving festivities to the shopping opportunity that comes Thursday evening.  Stores are opening their doors earlier than ever for Black Friday, a moniker that no longer even really applies.

If you plan to brave the crowds of people rushing the stores tomorrow night, then you absolutely must do so with safety in mind.  In the rush to snag the last Xbox One or Playstation 4, people tend to let their inhibitions slip by the wayside, creating the types of circumstances that could contribute to a personal injury.  Protect yourself and others by thinking about and acting on the tips available in a new report.

Safety begins on your way to the store.  Keep in mind that persons behind the wheel may not be in the right mind due to a drive to get to the front of the waiting line combined with perhaps a little overindulgence in holiday spirits.  Stay cautious at the wheel, looking out for dangerous drivers at all times.

When you get to the parking lot, try to get close to the door, but seeing as this may be difficult given the immense crowds, then at the very least make sure you’re positioning your vehicle in a highly trafficked, well-lit area.  That way, if someone attempts to accost you or steal your purchases from the car, you’ll be able to signal for help.  And it should go without saying that you should not leave your children in the car while you head into the store.  In fact, make plans ahead of time so that someone can watch your children while you head out to the store.

You want to minimize the possibility of theft whenever you can.  That means not taking along any expensive jewelry.   You should also keep a purse and a wallet tucked close to your body.  Pay attention to the people around you at all times, and if something strikes you as suspicious, don’t hesitate to alert security personnel.

If you know you’re going to buy a lot of stuff while you’re out, then have someone go with you so that they can ease the load you’re going to carry out of the store.  In fact, you may want to have someone with you anyway, as there will always be strength in numbers.

Should you have no choice but to bring children with you, then you must make sure to keep them in your sight at all times.  This is particularly important when people are crowding in from every direction.  Do not let kids wander off, and make sure they know who to alert and what information to tell security if they become separated for any reason.

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