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South Carolina Personal Injury Legal Blog

NSC reports high rate of fatigue in safety-critical industries

Residents of South Carolina may be able to recognize times when they are fatigued during work, but some are unaware of the dangers of work-related fatigue. A survey from the National Safety Council has turned up some intriguing statistics on this matter. Approximately 69 percent of all employees feel tired at work, and those most at risk are shift workers in the manufacturing, utilities, construction and transportation industries.

Most are aware of what may be causing their fatigue; for example, all construction workers reported that they experienced at least one risk factor for fatigue, the most common being long shifts and sleep loss. Reportedly, 97 percent of employees in transportation knew the impact of fatigue: the highest percentage in any safety-critical industry.

Preventing falls while out and about

There are many common hazards that can lead to falls. For instance, someone could slip on an icy sidewalk or slick floor. An individual might also fall due to a bunched-up carpet or because a cord is sticking out. However, there are ways that South Carolina residents can avoid slipping, tripping or falling at home, the store or work.

It is important that those who are moving around keep an eye on their surroundings. By looking at a smartphone, reviewing a document or otherwise not keeping their head up, an individual increases their risk of slipping or tripping on something. This is because they might not see a wet floor sign or other debris in their path.

CVSA's roadcheck detects frequent HOS, brake violations

Truck, bus and other commercial vehicle drivers in South Carolina may remember the International Roadcheck that occurred in June. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds this three-day inspection spree once a year across North America in the effort to ensure driver and vehicle compliance with federal safety standards.

This year, personnel were able to conduct 67,502 roadside inspections, which is more than last year. One good thing is that despite the higher number of inspections, there were fewer out-of-service orders issued. Still, the numbers and the unsafe trends revealed in the data are alarming.

Electronic records and drug labeling lead to medication errors

The electronic medical records used by healthcare workers in South Carolina could contribute to errors. Practitioners might enter medication orders on records for the wrong patients. Drug labels and packaging may contribute to mistakes as well because caregivers might mistake information on labels for dosage amounts.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices studied misplaced medication orders by analyzing electronic medical records to find medication orders that were entered, retracted and submitted again on other patients' records. This measurement provided an indication of how frequently this happens. At one large hospital system, these retractions and reorders happened 14 times a day. After applying this finding, researchers estimated that 1 in 37 hospital patients could have wrong-patient medication orders on their electronic records. Wrong-patient information often results when nurses, pharmacists and other personnel have more than one electronic record open on their computers. Interruptions also contributed to errors.

How can you protect a loved one from nursing home abuse?

The decision to put an elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home is likely one of the more challenging choices in any South Carolina resident's life. You have to put all your trust in people of whom you know nothing. A walk-through when you tour the facility might not give you an insight into the reality of the day-to-day treatment and care provided to residents.

Sadly, thousands of South Carolina seniors who are older than 60 years suffer abuse in assisted living facilities and nursing homes each year. The fact that the media publishes frequent reports of both physical and financial abuse that take place in these facilities will do nothing to ease your mind.

OSHA bulletins enforce temp worker safety

Temporary workers in South Carolina should know that OSHA has released two bulletins aimed at staffing agencies and host employers to remind them of their duties to keep employees safe. This is part of the agency's Temporary Worker Initiative. The two bulletins, which are concerned with noise exposure and respiratory hazards, reiterate what OSHA already laid down in its Occupational Noise Standard and Respiratory Protection Standard.

Under those standards, OSHA requires employers to conduct hazard assessments of their workplaces and determine if protective equipment is needed. If respirators or hearing protection is required, neither the staffing agency nor the employer can make the employee pay for it. Also, employers are called to create protection programs when such equipment becomes necessary.

Afternoon slump affects doctors and nurses

If possible, South Carolina residents may want to avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon. The main reason is that doctors and nurses, like everyone else, often experience an afternoon slump. This is the sleepy feeling that develops around 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The result is that doctors and nurses tend to be less focused and less productive.

In addition, mistakes on the part of anesthesiologists are more common. A Duke University study referred specifically to "afternoon circadian lows" as the cause behind this trend. It's also important for patients to remember that shift changes often occur in the afternoon. This means that one's surgery is liable to be started by one team and finished by another. If the first team forgets to communicate vital information to the next, there can be serious consequences.

Distracted driving more common among women, study shows

The Society for Risk Analysis has recently published a situation-based analysis of driver behaviors, which may be of interest to drivers in South Carolina. The analysis focused on distracted driving and those groups that are at a high risk for it. Drivers who had a strong intention to use their mobile phone behind the wheel were classified under four profiles: inexperienced drivers, uninhibited drivers, drivers with little sense of road safety and women drivers.

The last profile may or may not be surprising, but analysts discovered that women are more likely than men to engage in distracted driving. Between the two most frequent forms of distracted behavior, calling and texting, the former was more common among all drivers. This may be because of the visual demands that texting requires.

Outdoor workers at risk of fatal heat stroke

During the warm summer months in South Carolina, soaring temperatures can quickly cause heat-related illnesses to occur. A new study has found that for outdoor workers, heat stroke can occur during temperatures that are only in the high 80s.

The study, which was conducted by a team from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), looked at 25 cases of heat stroke experienced by outdoor workers between 2011 and 2016. Of the 25 cases, 14 resulted in fatalities. Team members found that of the 14 fatalities, six occurred when the heat index was only 91. The heat index is a calculated estimation of how the outdoor temperatures feel to the human body by taking in the factors of both temperature and humidity.

A day at a hotel's pool deck might not go so swimmingly

Whether you live in South Carolina or spend family vacations here, the heat and humidity will likely have you visiting a hotel with a refreshing pool. However, pool decks can be hazardous areas — especially if the hotel manager or owner does not understand the typical swimming pool hazards, and fails to address pool safety concerns. While children are most at risk, accidents in and around a swimming pool can injure anyone.

There are strict pool safety standards with which the property owner must comply to keep guests safe. Victims of swimming pool accidents might have grounds to take legal action against a negligent pool owner.

  • South Carolina Association for Justice
  • Martindale-Hubbell | AV | Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest Level | of Professional Excellence | 2016 | Jeffrey Christopher Chandler
  • Injured | Workers' | Advocates | Since 1983
  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • SCWCEA | South Carolina Workers' Compensation Educational Association
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