Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Connecticut Legal Blog

Workplace safety and older workers

Workers of all ages in Connecticut may be interested to know that a growing number of workers are postponing their retirement. According to a review of federal employment statistics by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of people in the United States who are at least 65 years of age and are employed in at least a part-time capacity has risen from 12.8 percent in May 2000 to 18.8 percent in May 2016.

Working until the ages of 60 or 65 is no longer the norm. There are now many people who are 70 or 75 years of age and are still working. Some of them even have jobs in strenuous industrial positions.

Workplace safety failures lead to fatalities

Workers in Connecticut often rely on their employers to inform them of workplace hazards and risks. These employees may also follow the leads of their more experienced coworkers when it comes to workplace behavior, processes and procedures. Unfortunately, a wax approach to workplace safety can lead to fatalities.

One example of an avoidable workplace death occurred in a warehouse where employees routinely stood on pallets that were lifted by forklifts when restocking shelves. This is an unsafe procedure, and neither forklifts nor pallets are designed to be used in this way. In this instance, a worker fell from the pallet and eventually succumbed to his injuries while in the hospital.

A systematic approach to safety at work

There are many different ways in which a Connecticut worker could get hurt while working in a warehouse or a production facility. However, falls are one of the most common, so employers may want to look at their fall protection plans. OSHA requires workers to have fall protection if they are walking 4 feet above the next lower level.

Employers can get into compliance with this rule by using guardrails, personal fall arrest systems or by using a safety net system. It is believed that making such changes could save up to 29 lives and reduce lost work days because of fall injuries by about 6,000 per year. Employers should also consider how they will protect docks when they are not in use. Workers could get hurt if they fall from an open dock door whether they are in a forklift or are on foot when the fall happens.

FYBL U10 All-Stars Capture Two Banners, Reach State Finals

Farmington Youth Baseball U10 All-Stars had an incredible run this summer, capturing two banners: the District 5 Title and the Section 2 Championship! The boys ultimately lost in the State Finals, but finished third out of over 100 teams Statewide at the U10 age level. Their final record was 10-4, with two of those losses at the hands of second place Trumbull National. Led by the coaching staff of Manager Aaron Jainchill and Assistant Coaches Kevin Finn and Tim Nogiec, this talented and enthusiastic group advanced further than any U10 team in the history of Farmington Youth Baseball. Congratulations to the players, parents and coaching staff!

Accidents drop with collision avoidance systems

Connecticut drivers who have blind spot alert or lane departure warnings on their vehicles may be less likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not. Research examining more than 5,000 2015 car accidents conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that these collision safety systems resulted in 11 percent fewer accidents that were side swipes, single-vehicle crashes or head-on collisions and 21 percent fewer injury accidents of the same kind.

Other studies that looked at 2015 accidents and collision avoidance systems examined Volvos in Sweden and trucking fleets in the United States. This research found accident rates cut in half by lane departure alert systems, suggesting that some U.S. car drivers may be turning their collision systems off. The vice-president for research at IIHS believes that some drivers who had the alert that beeped rather than making the seat vibrate were irritated by the sound.

Composting and recycling industry promotes worker safety

When households and businesses in Connecticut send their yard or food waste to composting facilities, the workers must operate heavy machinery to process the solid materials. To inform workers of their workplace hazards, the Solid Waste Association of North America has launched the "Five to Stay Alive" campaign. The association has made flyers and posters available to employers in English and Spanish meant to increase awareness among workers of procedures for limiting accidents.

Composting large amounts of municipal waste requires physical labor and heavy machinery within busy work environments. These conditions create the potential for serious injuries and even deaths. Within the United States, the waste collection and recycling industry has been identified as the fifth-most deadly occupation. A composting specialist said that the industry had been focused on training workers in the scientific process of composting, but safety has now become a priority.

Following safety regulations is vital for trench work

Trench digging is a necessary task for a multitude of Connecticut construction projects. In order for water lines, natural gas supplies and even electrical cables to be laid safely, workers may need to dig trenches into the ground.

Depending on the job, trenches can be anywhere from a few feet in depth to over 10 feet. Workers must enter these trenches to install the materials and make sure that everything is fitted correctly. However, if the trench is not supported correctly, workers face dangerous and sometimes lethal situations. Recently disturbed ground can shift at any moment and put workers in serious danger.

Driver fatalities rise along with the economy

Economic recovery in Connecticut and across the country could potentially have the side effect of a higher risk of death in a car accident. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that as the economy improves, more drivers are taking the road, more frequently and more dangerously.

For 2014 car models, IIHS statistics showed a driver death rate of 30 per one million registered vehicle years. This was an increase from 28 per one million for 2011 automobiles. While improved technology and new vehicle designs have driven drops in vehicle deaths, discretionary driving has risen along with the number of jobs and the improved economy.

Increasing speed limits leading to more deaths

While many Connecticut drivers like to get to their destinations quickly, a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that the speed limit increases that have occurred throughout the country since 1987 have resulted in an estimated 33,000 additional deaths. According to the vice president for research and statistical services for the IIHS, the car accident fatality rates would have been lower if speed limits had not been raised.

States are responsible for setting speed limits within their borders. During the 1970s and 1980s, speed limits were held to 55 mph due to potential financial penalties. This was due to the fact that there were concerns over the availability of fuel. Since 1987, however, states have been slowly raising the posted speed limits as the fuel availability concerns were fading. Restrictions were first lifted for rural highways and later for main highways. Six states now have 80 mph speed limits.

Fourth of July weekend dangerous for drivers

Connecticut drivers faced one of the most dangerous holidays of the year on Independence Day. Insurance statistics have shown that there is as much as a 7 percent increase in auto accident claims over the holiday weekend for the Fourth of July.

There is a higher rate of auto insurance claims over this summer holiday than on the Memorial Day and Labor Day holiday weekends that bracket the summer season. Because it is a holiday weekend, many more drivers are on the road than usual and traffic jams are far from uncommon. As with any crowded driving period on the roads, there is a higher risk of encountering distracted, tired or confused drivers.

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Jainchill & Beckert

144 West Main Street
Plainville, CT 06062

Phone: 860-351-3552
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