Saint Joseph Missouri Personal Injury Legal Blog

Why patients should avoid hospitals during the afternoon

Scheduling a surgery or medical procedure can be difficult for some Missouri residents, especially if they have to work around specific schedules and family needs. However, going to the hospital to have a procedure done may be more or less dangerous depending on when the procedure is scheduled. For example, there are several reasons why it is less desirable to go to the hospital during the afternoon hours.

One reason is that workers from all industries can be affected by the 3 p.m. slump, a time when fatigue tends to set in. If a doctor or nurse experiences this fatigue, they could be more at risk of making medical mistakes. For example, the physician may be more likely to prescribe antibiotics, even if the patient does not need them. In some cases, doctors could even be less likely to detect cancer. A study of 1,000 colonoscopies found that there was a 5 percent decrease in the polyp detection rate as each hour passed.

Sleepiness, distractions and road rage create highway hazards

Drivers in Missouri have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely. The causes of many accidents arise from behaviors that represent reckless personal choices. To improve safety, people should monitor themselves for drowsiness, avoid smartphone distractions and stay calm even when annoyed by other drivers.

Drowsiness impairs drivers by slowing their reaction times and decision-making abilities. When people notice themselves yawning excessively, nodding off or swerving, they should stop to take a nap or at least consume a caffeinated drink. Regular sleep, however, works best. An injury prevention researcher pointed out that drivers who only sleep four or five hours increase their risk of being in a crash by 5.4 times compared to those who sleep at least seven hours.

How will you prove a trucker's negligence?

The sheer size of big rigs makes them a hazard on Missouri roads. Be alert when you share the highways with 18-wheelers or the city streets with tractor-trailers. The consequences of truck vs. car accidents are often catastrophic.

Truckers travel across the country to bring consumers the goods they need. The fact that their incomes often depend on the miles they travel, the number of deliveries they make and their turnaround times may play a role in the number of truck accidents on Missouri roads. Not getting enough rest and driving while fatigued could make a truck driver a deadly weapon.

Data shows an increase in asbestos-related deaths

In certain industries, Missouri workers may still be at risk for asbestos exposure. The U.S. has no general ban on asbestos, and more than 100 countries continue to use this toxic mineral. Previous estimates have placed the annual number of asbestos-related deaths throughout the world to between 105,000 and 110,000. However, a study from the International Commission of Occupational Health shows that the real number is much higher.

Researchers discovered that in 2016, 222,321 people died from occupational asbestos-related diseases, including 39,275 in the U.S. The study also pointed out that while mesothelioma is the disease most commonly associated with asbestos, it is far from the only concern. In fact, asbestos exposure was found to cause six times more cases of lung cancer than mesothelioma.

Safest and most dangerous states for work vehicle drivers

Missouri residents who drive commercial vehicles for work purposes will want to know about a study recently conducted by Verizon Connect, a fleet management systems provider. The company analyzed driver behaviors from more than 6,200 of its fleet customers to find out which states were the safest and most dangerous for work vehicle drivers. The data spanned from October 2015 to September 2017, and the customers ranged from small to mid-size businesses with 2 to 200 work vehicles.

It turns out the safest states are clustered on the East Coast, despite well-known traffic problems on Interstate 95. Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut were the top three safest states while the least safe were Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. South Dakota also saw the most instances of speeding. The Midwest and the South were by far the most dangerous regions.

Distracted driving is a real problem in Missouri

An increasing number of accidents in Missouri and elsewhere are caused by distracted driving. Driver distraction has become a monumental problem, and it does not appear to be slowing down.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, infotainment systems that are included in most new cars may be making the roads less safe. These systems may help make long drives more interesting, but they also cause many drivers to divert their attention away from driving. In 2017, an estimated 37,150 people were killed on the nation's roadways, which was an increase of more than 10 percent since 2014.

Mining workers need more protection against black lung

According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, not enough is being done to protect coal mining workers from black lung disease. The report, called 'Monitoring and Sampling Approaches to Assess Underground Coal Mine Dust Exposures," suggests ways that miners can be further protected beyond that lax standards in place as of 2018. For miners in Missouri and beyond, the rising rate of black lung is a major concern.

Black lung, otherwise known as coal workers' pneumoconiosis, results from years of inhaling coal dust, or RCMD. The disease is often fatal. That's why the National Academy's report focuses on ways to limit the amount of dust miners inhale while on the job. Authors of the report, however, say that solving the problem will require much more complicated scientific, legal and regulatory solutions.

How to combat heat stroke and stress at work

Workers who are exposed to hot temperatures can experience negative health consequences whether they work indoors or outdoors. Missouri employers and others should take steps to help their employees stay safe while exposed to hot temperatures. For instance, workers should be encouraged to drink water and eat snacks while on the job. Water can help keep the body cool while the snacks can replace electrolytes lost through sweat.

It is important to note that a person should not drink more than 12 quarts of water within 24 hours. If workers need to drink that much to stay cool at work, it may be best to create an alternate work schedule. This could involve allowing employees to work in shifts or allowing them to take more frequent breaks in areas that have shade or air conditioning. It is a good idea to let new workers take additional breaks or to have a lighter workload during their first week on the job.

CVSA Brake Safety Week scheduled to begin Sept. 16

Truck drivers in Missouri can expect closer scrutiny from law enforcement and truck inspectors during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Brake Safety Week, which starts Sept. 16. The nonprofit organization of industry representatives and federal, state and local safety officials chose to conduct a one-day brake-related safety blitz in 2017, which resulted in almost 1,700 semi-tractor trailers being ordered off the road.

Poorly maintained or defective braking systems are especially dangerous when they are tasked with safely stopping vehicles that can weigh up to 40 tons. That's why commercial vehicle inspectors will be scrutinizing brake mechanics closely during Brake Safety Week. According to the CVSA, most of the inspections conducted during the week-long safety initiative will be Level I inspections, which are extremely rigorous. Inspectors will be checking for leaking air or hydraulic fluid, signs of damage or neglect and the functionality of brake failure warning systems. Any trucks that are considered a danger to other road users will be ordered out of service.

Dangerous toys: How safe will your child be this summer?

While their children's safety is a primary concern for most Missouri parents, they may unwittingly put the children in harm's way when they buy certain toys advertised as essentials for summer fun. A group of consumer watchdogs says almost half of the child fatalities from injuries each year nationwide occur during the months of summer.

This consumer group — World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) — recently released a report that lists the 10 most dangerous toys that are available for children this summer. While you, as a parent, is responsible for the safety of your children, you could seek recovery of damages through the civil justice system if dangerous toys harm your children.

We would love to hear from you and explain how Joe’s experience can benefit your case.

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