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ARCHIVES: December 2017

Work Injuries Affect Families

York County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss how workplace injuries can affect families. The total cost of workplace injuries in the United States was estimated at $198 billion a year, according to a report by the National Safety Council. Workplace injuries affect not only the workers, but also their families, for many years. Workers’ Compensation is designed to provide workers with medical treatment and compensation for their injuries. However, it does not provide compensation to the workers’ families, who often suffer the negative effects of those injuries for years to come.

Financial Impact

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) report, Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job, examines the financial and emotional impact of workplace injuries. One case study found that in 10 years following an injury, workers in New Mexico earned 15 percent less than they did before the workplace accident. They also spent an average of $31,000, despite receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits. According to OSHA, only 21 percent of the cost of worker injuries is covered by Workers’ Compensation. The federal government pays 11 percent, the state and local government pays five percent, and private health insurance pays 13 percent, leaving the injured worker to pay 50 percent of the cost of their injuries.

Possible Injuries

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Northern Kentucky University conducted a joint study in which they found that families of injured workers were more likely to suffer injuries themselves. The study found that family members of severely injured workers filed 34 percent more claims related to fractures, sprains, joint dislocations, and other musculoskeletal disorders than families of non-severely injured workers in the three months following the occupational injury. NIOSH believes this may be because family members of severely injured workers are relied upon to help move their injured relative around, or to help with household chores, such as moving heavy furniture.

Emotional Strain

Lost or diminished wages can be a source of emotional strain for families of injured workers. Time off from work may lead to strained relationships between the worker and their employer. Being unemployed may also lead to a decline in other areas of the workers’ physical or mental health, and can even cause depression. The president of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America (LIUNA) states that workers can best avoid the harmful physical, emotional, and financial toll of workplace injuries by preventing the workplace accident from occurring in the first place. LIUNA, OSHA, and other affiliates are working diligently to reduce the amount of workplace accidents by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.

York County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for the Families of Injured Workers

If you were injured in a workplace accident, contact a Workers’ Compensation lawyer in York County at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We understand the comprehensive toll that workplace injuries can take on the families of injured workers. Our team is experienced in navigating the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system. We provide high quality legal services to injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina, including clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 for a free, confidential consultation.

Truck Platooning

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on truck platooning. Truck platooning is a new concept in the commercial trucking industry that allows tractor trailers to take advantage of on-road slipstreaming to reduce fuel costs up to 15 percent. Two tractor trailers traveling one behind the other become connected through wireless radar and communication, allowing them to significantly reduce the distance between them. This decreases the air drag between the two trucks and reduces the amount of fuel required. The lead truck can save as much as five percent in fuel while the truck following the lead rig can save up to 10 percent.

Trucking companies across the country are eager to implement truck platooning to potentially save millions of dollars in fuel costs each year, but safety advocates are expressing concerns. The Governors Highway Safety Association fears that passenger vehicles on the road that try to cut in between the platoons run the risk of becoming severely injured in an accident. They also worry that the reliability of technology could cause serious accidents if digital connections between the platooning trucks are lost, even temporarily.

How Platooning Works

Through wireless radar, the lead truck controls the acceleration and braking of the truck following behind them. The driver of the second truck steers their vehicle using a television monitor attached to their console that projects what the lead truck sees in front of them. While these images allow the second truck to make steering decisions, the acceleration and deceleration of their rig is still controlled by the lead truck. Many states across the country have strict laws that prohibit truck drivers from watching television screens while driving, making the legality of platooning questionable in the future.

Recent studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation have focused on finding the safest distance between rigs that will allow them to reap the benefits of slipstreaming. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center have found that a one second reduction of following time can have a significant impact on the risk of a serious or fatal truck accident. Studies will continue as commercial trucking companies embrace and implement truck platooning.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 11 percent of all fatal car accidents involve commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, even though trucks account for only four percent of the vehicles on the roadways. There were 4,317 people fatally injured in trucking accidents in 2016. Seventy-two percent were traveling in passenger vehicles while another 11 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, road construction workers, and law enforcement officers.

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Truck Accidents Claim Compensation

If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The Columbia truck accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you claim the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Call us at 803-929-3600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices can be found at six different locations across the state, allowing us to serve clients throughout South Carolina, including clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss psychological safety in the workplace. People often associate a safe work environment with physical safety. However, mental safety is an equally important component of a safe workplace. As organizations face increasing consequences of negative psychological effects concerning their employees, they are placing more emphasis on creating psychologically safe workplaces. Employees who are psychologically well can think, feel, and act in a more productive way than those who are not. Many employees who are suffering psychologically are frequently absent from work and are not performing effectively. Certain organizations have up to 45 percent of absences due to psychological factors such as anxiety, stress, and depression.

Wellbeing Works Study

Wellbeing Works, a consulting firm that helps organizations achieve optimal performance by improving employees’ wellbeing, has been working with several organizations to improve their psychological safety. Organizations who act to ensure that their workplaces are psychologically safe experience higher engagement levels, as well as a lower turnover rate and amount of absences. Wellbeing Works has developed a four-stage method that determines what psychological safety means for that organization, how to think differently, analyzing actions and behaviors, and implementation.

The study was recently implemented at Barts Health NHS Trust, a company where staff reported high levels of stress, low levels of autonomy, and lack of recognition by managers. Staff surveys were collected and used to determine the causes, source, and scale of issues at Barts Health NHS Trust. Managers were trained on psychological safety and given a framework to implement changes. They were directed to focus on factors such as:

  • Establishing openness to challenge
  • Engaging in supportive dialogue
  • Equitable distribution of work
  • Providing positive feedback
  • Creating a sense of belonging
  • Recognizing employee accomplishments

After four months of initial evaluation, Wellbeing Works reported that employees were receptive and appreciative of the changes. Staff survey scores changed for the better with 16 improving and 41 stabilizing. Employees commented that they noticed managers putting more focus on resolving problems and that Barts Health NHS Trust had become a much better place to work.

In psychologically safe workplaces, employees are more likely to rise to challenges because they are rewarded for their efforts. They are more comfortable seeking help and have the liberty to make suggestions for improvement because they do not fear retribution. Wellbeing Works founder, Hamish Moore, believes that psychological safety should be a board-level item that organizations should recognize for the well-being of employees and for the optimal functioning of the organizations.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Workers

South Carolina workers are entitled to safe workplaces. If you have been injured on the job physically or psychologically, contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We represent injured workers throughout South Carolina, including in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule your free consultation.

Making I-95 Safer for Drivers in South Carolina

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers discuss plans to make I-95 safer for South Carolina drivers. Local law enforcement officials and the South Carolina Department of Transportation are working to rename a stretch of Interstate 95 known as the “Coffin Corridor.” This portion of I-95 in South Carolina has 50 percent more fatal car accidents than any other road in the state. The majority of these wrecks are not related to the road itself, but to the trees that line the highway.

To reduce the number of fatal accidents on the Jasper County section of the interstate, the South Carolina Department of Transportation is installing flexible guidewire along I-95 from mile marker 28 into the state of Georgia. The guidewire is a type of guardrail system made of flexible material that stretches on impact to slow down a vehicle that has left the road. This lessens the impact when cars drive off the highway and into the trees. The project will cost the state $5 billion.

A baffling point for transportation engineers working on this highway is that most  accidents occur along a flat, straight section of the interstate.

A recent study suggested that the area of Jasper where this section of I-95 runs is an unofficial midpoint for those traveling the east coast. While many drivers seem to push their travel to reach the Jasper area, some may be pushing too hard. Fatigue and distraction could be responsible for many vehicles steering off the road.

Transportation officials have also concluded that the aging trees along the road have grown bigger and wider over the years, making them more lethal when cars hit them. They are hopeful that the installation of the guidewire will help save the lives of those traveling through the area and result in a new identity for Jasper County. A spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Transportation said the project will be well worth the cost if it results in even one life being saved.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured or Killed in Car Accidents in South Carolina

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have six convenient office locations throughout South Carolina offices. We represent clients in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina including Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Students Injured in Multi-Car Wreck with Rock Hill School Bus

Students Injured in Multi-Car Wreck with Rock Hill School Bus

During Thursday afternoon, a multi-car wreck with a school bus injured multiple students in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Around noon, the car accident occurred when the first car rear-ended another vehicle, which caused that second vehicle to slam into the school bus. After driving away from the bus, the second car hit a third car. At least three victims of the multi-car wreck were hospitalized, including the bus driver, for a variety of personal injuries.

A multi-vehicle accident or chain reaction crash commonly takes place during rush hour or in a highly congested area, and can originate from one crash. When a large vehicle like a school bus is involved, the results could be catastrophic. Buses do not contain safety features like air bags, so if a bus is occupied during an accident, the passengers and bus driver could sustain personal injuries or even fatalities.

If you or your loved ones have been injured in a car accident, our Columbia personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will stand by you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Chinese Car Makers Announce Safety Advances

York County Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on announcements of new vehicle safety advances by Chinese car makers. Twelve major Chinese car manufacturers will be equipping new models with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), beginning in January 2018. ESC uses various technologies, such as automatic breaking and counter-steering, to help keep vehicles heading in the right direction when a driver loses control. Implementation of this technology has been mandatory in the United States and the European Union since 2012.

The ESC technology is specifically designed to help drivers avoid crashes by preventing the vehicle from spinning out, when the rear of the vehicle exceeds its limits of road traction; or plowing out, when the front of the vehicle exceeds its limits of road traction. Spinning out and plowing out often occur when a driver makes a turn at a high speed and attempts to regain control of the vehicle by engaging in extreme steering maneuvers.

Stop the Crash Partnership

A chairman of the Stop the Crash Partnership says he hopes it will help raise road safety awareness in China. Stop the Crash is a global, multi-stakeholder partnership that promotes crash avoidance technologies and supports the United Nation’s Global Goals and the Decade of Action for Road Safety. These are programs designed to assist countries in developing performance targets on key risk factors and mechanisms to reduce injuries and fatalities associated with driving. Stop the Crash notes that the 12 Chinese car manufacturers, namely Besturn, Changan, Dongfeng Fengshen, Geely, Haval, Hongqi, Lynk & Co, MG, Trumpchi, Roewe, Senova, and Wey, make up 85 percent of the car manufacturing market.

The chairman of the Stop the Crash Partnership is also secretary general of the Global New Car Assessment Program (Global NCAP), a company dedicated to promoting public safety and health by conducting independent research. They also provide financial support, technical assistance, and facilitation of international cooperation for the development of new car assessment programs. Global NCAP aids organizations worldwide that test vehicles based on United Nations standards and disseminate safety information regarding vehicles.

Chinese manufacturers are not required to implement this technology. The secretary of China Automotive Technology and Research Center stated that these manufacturers have taken a bold step that proves their commitment to road safety.

York County Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims of All Types of Car Accidents

If you were injured or you lost a loved one in a car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer in York County at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We provide effective representation to victims of all types of car accidents, including head-on collisions, hit and runs, multi-vehicle accidents, negligent driver accidents, rear-end collisions, and rollovers. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule a free consultation.

From our multiple office locations in South Carolina, we proudly represent clients throughout the state, including in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina including Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Workers’ Compensation and Temp Workers

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers offer advice on keeping temporary workers safe. Temporary workers are vulnerable to workplace injury and financial harm, according to a new study conducted by three Temple University law students. Temp workers are 72 percent more likely to be injured on the job than regular full-time employees, according to an additional ProPublica analysis of Workers’ Compensation claims in five states. The study’s authors suggest that this is due to the tendency of staffing agencies to not take responsibility for proper training and other safety requirements. Government officials, employment attorneys, worker advocates, and temporary workers were all interviewed for the report. The report concludes that stricter rules are necessary to protect temporary workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly three million workers are employed by staffing agencies in the United States. These temp workers tend to be young, inexperienced, and in need of training. However, host employers often contract away training duties to the staffing agencies, who then look for ways to cut corners. The host employer then denies responsibility for any resulting temp worker injuries.

How to Better Protect Temp Workers

Temp workers may fear retaliation for reporting hazards and have even described being scared to ask for safety gloves. Temp workers also face financial harm, often being denied minimum wage and required to meet in changing locations to receive their pay. An AFL-CIO report reveals that nearly 5.7 million workers are assigned to 54 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors responsible for their safety oversight. These companies therefore face a small chance of being inspected. If they are, OSHA fines are often relatively small, according to the Temple University report.

The study’s authors suggest a few ways to better protect temp workers from workplace injuries and financial harm. First, they recommend more studies on the issue that will lead to a broader scope of understanding. Second, mandated transparency measures, such as registration, verification, and clarification of obligations between host employers, staffing agencies, and temp workers may increase accountability. Third, host employers should not be able to avoid accountability for temp worker injuries by contracting with staffing companies. Finally, retaliation should not be acceptable. The study’s authors call for proactive investigation by enforcement agencies into workplaces where temp workers are least likely to report workplace violations.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Temporary Workers

If you suffered an injury on the job, contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Our experienced, knowledgeable legal team understand the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

We represent clients in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina including Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Truckers and IoT Systems

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on IoT systems and their impact on the trucking industry and truck accidents. Truckers generally have no choice as to their whereabouts when disaster strikes. It is crucial for both independent truckers and for large commercial truckers to be prepared with the right technology for their IoT systems to ensure that a natural disaster or truck accident does not stop business in its tracks.

The modern trucking industry uses elaborate tracking systems to locate trucks and other assets, and to collect data to monitor and evaluate fleet operations. Ken Ehrmann, a technology advisor, says that there are four factors for the tracking components of an IoT system that must be considered when preparing for disasters.

These four factors contribute to how the devices hold up under stressful conditions and include the battery, the enclosure for the device, the correct certifications, and network connectivity.

The Battery

In the event of a natural disaster, how long a battery lasts determines the length of time companies can track assets when an IoT device lacks power sources. Battery life has two aspects to consider: how long a device can fully function before recharging is needed, and quality degradation. The latter refers to the ability of the device to switch into a low-power mode as the battery’s reserves are depleted, sustaining the battery life. High quality battery designs give fleet managers more time to locate and manage assets stranded in a disaster zone.

The Enclosure

The best IoT devices have a hardened plastic enclosure for physical protection – minimizing shocks and vibration damage. Hardened plastic performs better than metal casings, which can attract electrical shocks and disrupt electrical signals.

Certifications

To be certain that IoT devices can stand up to hurricane conditions and the aftermath, invest in those with MIL-810-G (military drop test) and IP-69K (protection against dust solids and liquids) certifications. Both the device itself and its sensors must be certified.

Network Connectivity

Even when IoT devices have the best protection and batteries available, the system is not worth anything if connectivity is lost. When choosing between satellite or cellular, consider location and cost. High-risk operations may want to invest in a multi-channel approach, however, this is the most expensive option because each device must have two antennae and both a cellular and satellite modem. Both services require a monthly charge making this option better suited for high asset, high risk operations.

Those with less overall risk may want to install a multi-channel system only for assets involved in high-risk areas. For most other businesses, cellular networks match satellite coverage 99 percent of the time and are recommended over satellite networks.

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Injured Victims of Truck Accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a truck accident, contact an experienced Columbia truck accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Start out as a client, end up as a friend.

Our South Carolina offices are located in Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County, and we represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina including Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Moped Crash with Vehicle in Westminster Causes Fatality

Moped Crash with Vehicle in Westminster Causes FatalityIn Westminster, South Carolina, a moped crash with another vehicle caused a fatality. Around 6:41 am, the collision occurred when a vehicle struck a moped on Westminster Highway near Plant Road. The 65-year-old rider succumbed to his fatal injuries at the scene of the moped crash.

Mopeds contain little to no safety features, so riders are vulnerable in motor vehicle accidents. When a larger vehicle hits a moped, the crash could cause a variety of personal injuries and possible fatalities. In some cases, debilitating injuries could lead to lifelong trauma, and the inability to earn a proper living.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, our Columbia personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for your rights. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Pedestrian Accident in Ravenel Claims Victim’s Life

Pedestrian Accident in Ravenel Claims Victim’s LifeOn Thursday morning, a motor vehicle fatally struck a pedestrian in Ravenel, South Carolina. The pedestrian accident occurred around 9 am at the intersection of Savannah Highway and Highway 165. At the scene of the crash, the victim succumbed to fatal injuries.

Traffic laws protect pedestrians, but oftentimes, motorists are unaware of the rules or are oblivious to their presence on the roads. Distracted driving, speeding, and reckless driving all contribute to the danger pedestrians face. If a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, they could incur personal injuries or potential fatalities in an accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, our Columbia personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will protect your rights. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

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