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Pennsylvania and Ohio Injury Law Blog

Canadian study shows bicycle infrastructure affects injury rates

Wearing a helmet is one way to prevent certain traumatic brain injuries associated with bicycle accidents. But according to a new Canadian study, it may not be the best way. According to the study, a city's bicycle infrastructure, including the existence of protected lanes and bike-share programs, prevent hospitalizations to a greater degree than does mandatory helmet use. The study also found that women's bicycling habits -- including riding slower and using quieter, more protected back streets -- resulted in women cyclists have fewer injuries than men. 

This study doesn't necessarily mean that helmet use is ineffective in preventing injury. When a bicyclist gets in an accident, a helmet is an essential safety measure that can minimize the impact of a collision, thus preventing the worst of-- if not all-- brain injuries. But the study does show that helmet use may pale in comparison to other methods for preventing bicycle-related hospitalizations. 

Twelve-vehicle pileup on Interstate 80 in Mercer County

With winter hitting Western PA now in full force, Interstate 80 will see its fair share of accidents. Each year, our stretch of I-80 is touted as one of the country's most dangerous strips to drive on during inclement weather. Strong gusts of wind, snow squalls, and large trucks driving at dangerous speeds headline the interstate's main problems. Wednesday evening was no different.

Crane accident not the first for NYC crane owner Bay Crane

On Friday February 5, a crane collapsed in Lower Manhattan, killing one person and injuring three others. The crane operating company, Galasso Trucking & Rigging, had been lowering the crane to adjust to windy conditions when the crane toppled over. The crane had been inspected by the New York City Department of Buildings the previous day after the operating company had requested to extend the crane to a certain height. 

While the New York City Police Department and Department of Buildings is still investigating the cause of the crash, it's worth noting that the owner of the crane, Bay Crane, has been sued five times in the past five years, and has been involved in at least two serious accidents in the last year alone. 

Pennsylvania bridge repair company deemed OSHA "severe violator"

The Pennsylvania bridge repair company, Susquehanna Supply Company Inc., has been fined $140,000 and placed in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Severe Violator Enforcement Program list for a July 7, 2015 trench collapse on a work site that killed a contractor.

The contractor had been working in a deep trench on the site of a small bridge repair job contracted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation when the trench collapsed, burying him. Susquehanna Supply Company Inc. has been fined for failing to provide adequate safety measures to protect workers from such trench collapses. 

Traumatic brain injury recovery can be unpredictable

If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may understandably have questions and anxiety about the extent of recovery that may be possible. Unfortunately it's difficult to predict exactly to what extent a person may recover from a serious brain injury. In general, the more serious the injury, the more difficult the recovery will be. A person's age and health before the injury will also affect the degree to which recovery is possible. 

Usually the greatest improvement happens in the first six months after a brain injury.  As swelling and bleeding decrease and the person's brain begins to return to a more normal state, responsiveness and communication may increase. Improvement may continue over the course of two years, although likely at a slower rate than during the first six months. Recovery can be unpredictable and inconsistent, however, and requires patience on behalf of everyone involved. 

What are the most dangerous industrial chemicals?

Industrial chemicals have the potential to cause illness, either from incremental long-term exposure or from a one-time event. Some industrial chemicals are reactive and unstable, meaning they are very flammable and can explode easily, causing burns and other secondary injuries. Other injuries can result when a worker is exposed to a toxic chemical. Whether inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin, these chemicals can cause serious health effects, including cancer and reproductive harm. 

The kind of health effects caused by chemical exposure depend on the type of chemical involved, the duration and frequency of the exposure, the amount of chemical you were exposed to, and the way the chemical got into your body. 

Light snow may be more dangerous to drivers than heavy snowstorms

Winter brings with it icy and slick conditions that can imperil all drivers on the road. Intuitively, it may seem that heavier snowfalls would cause more dangerous road conditions and reduced visibility that could lead to a greater incidence of accidents and injuries. However, some believe that lighter snowfalls could be even more dangerous to drivers.

That's because drivers operating under light snow conditions may not recognize how dangerous the roads have become, and may fail to adjust their speed accordingly. Furthermore, drivers can easily forget that roads that are not yet covered in snow can still be very slippery. In fact, if the roads haven't yet been salted and sanded, they can be even more slippery than roads that have already been plowed, salted and/or sanded. 

Pennsylvania ahead of national average for body part compensation

How much can you get for a lost leg? How about an index finger, or even an ear? The answer depends on the state where you live. Each state is allowed by Congress to determine on its own how much workers' compensation benefits pay for workplace accidents that cause amputations. 

The good news, if there can be such a thing in a workplace amputation scenario, is twofold. First of all, unlike having to prove that an on-the-job exposure caused a particular illness, it's easy to demonstrate that an amputation occurred at work. The other bit of good news is that Pennsylvania is more generous than the national average in what its workers' compensation benefits pay out for specific amputations. Ohio also pays more than the national average, but not by much. 

What if you're offered a job while collecting wage-loss benefits?

Receiving workers' compensation benefits, including wage-loss benefits, can be a great relief when you've been injured on the job and are unable to work for a period of time. Having the financial breathing room and access to medical care you need without having to file a personal-injury lawsuit against your employer are some of the very reasons that workers' compensation benefits even exist. But that much-needed respite and recovery can be interrupted if your employer offers you another job while you are receiving benefits. 

If your employer offers you a new job in your local area that you could perform with your current medical restrictions, the opportunity may be welcome or not. You would be free to accept or decline the position, but your decision could come with consequences for your ability to continue to receive benefits. 

CDC confirms Utah nurse as serial hepatitis C infector

The CDC has now confirmed that the hepatitis C outbreak at McKay-Dee Hospital and Davis Medical Center & Hospital in Utah was caused by Elet Neilson, a healthcare professional who worked for Davis from June 2011 to April 2014 and at McKay-Dee from June 2014 to November 2014. The CDC says at least 7200 people have risked exposure.

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