Jobs in industries such as agriculture, landscaping and construction typically have many workers employed outside through all kinds of weather. Many of those who work outside are at risk of heat related illness.
Unfortunately, the hot weather we have had so far this summer has resulted in a number of workplace fatalities attributed to the heat. Tragically, back in May, a Louisiana worker died from heat stress after picking tomatoes and over May and June, two construction workers perished from heat related illnesses in Florida and South Dakota while on the job. In fact, OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, reports that dozens of workers die yearly due to heat problems.
The injuries and fatalities are not limited to those working outdoors. Heat injuries can result from strenuous physical labor not only in hot weather, but during physical contact with hot objects or other radiant heat sources which may include environments such as laundries, bakeries, steel and iron foundries, ceramic and brick-firing plants, commercial kitchens, smelters, mines and glass-making facilities.
OSHA requires that employers provide employees a workplace free of safety hazards and this includes protecting workers from extreme heat. When working in outdoor conditions that may cause heat related illnesses, employers must provide workers with reasonable water, rest and shade. To protect new or returning workers who are at risk of heat exposure inside and outside, employers should gradually increase workloads and provide more frequent breaks to build tolerance for heat. Workers and their supervisors should receive training to prevent heat illnesses, recognize the signs of danger and develop a plan for emergencies.
Any worker exposed to hot and humid conditions is at risk of heat illness, especially those who are engaged in heavy work tasks and those who must wear bulky protective clothing or equipment. Employers, particularly those in industries at high risk for heat-related illness such as construction, trade, transportation, utilities, agriculture, grounds maintenance, and support activities for oil and gas operations, must act to protect their employees from harm.
Heat injuries and deaths are preventable. If you or a family member has been injured due to a heat related illness, contact the Des Moines Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help. Victims of heat injury on the job due to an employer’s negligence can seek economic compensation by means of a personal injury lawsuit, a workers compensation insurance claim or a wrongful death claim.
Bicycling is a very popular past time in Iowa. The vast stretches of bike trails throughout the state, scenic backdrops and various cycle clubs attract many enthusiasts.
Between time on the trails, many riders take to the streets mixing with motor vehicles, which can present a particular danger to bicyclists. Just over the weekend, a 2016 RAGBRAI participant was killed after the driver of a pickup struck his bike from behind. The driver apparently did not see the bicyclist in the early hours of Sunday morning.
This year 9 bicyclists have been killed in Iowa, which is nearly twice the number reported last year. Many of these fatalities were a result of a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist.
In order to prevent accidents, drivers of motor vehicles and bicyclists should take extra care when sharing the road.
If you are riding a bicycle:
Use bike trails preferentially. When you do travel along streets, try to pick those that have less traffic and slower speeds. Dress brightly to increase your odds of being seen and use lights, both front and back, if you are traveling during times when there is less sunlight. Exercise caution around possible danger zones like intersections, driveways or cars park along streets. Make eye contact with drivers at intersections when possible and use hand signals to alert drivers to changes in your direction. Give your full attention to navigating safely by tucking away your smartphone or music device.
Drivers of motor vehicles:
Give wide berth to bicyclists when you encounter them on the road when possible. Before pulling out from an intersection, making left or right hand turns, leaving a parking spot or even opening a car door, make sure that there are no bicyclists traveling along the roadway or sidewalk in your path. The bumper sticker “See Bicycles” sums this up succinctly as many drivers report that they did not see a bicyclists before a collision – all drivers should make a conscious effort to look for bike riders and take measures to avoid collisions.
If you or a loved one has been injured a motor vehicle accident, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help. John has represented plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits for more than 30 years and has the knowledge and experience to help you recover the compensation you will need.
As America’s population ages, more and more elderly people will seek care in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted care facilities and long-term care hospitals. Some individuals and families may worry about the quality of care they or their loved one will receive particularly when cases of elder abuse have been reported in some of these facilities.
Although there are a number of state and federal regulations in place to protect vulnerable seniors from elder abuse and neglect, not all facilities play by the rules.
Research reveals that nearly one in three U.S. nursing homes have been cited for violations of standards and ninety-five percent of residents sampled indicated that they had either suffered neglect or had witnessed other residents being neglected. Scarily, more than 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating, neglecting or abusing nursing home residents in the prior year.
If you or a family member is considering a care facility, remember that safety and health trump all other considerations. If you discover that a home has had safety and health violations, it is important to ask questions regarding how problems were resolved and gain a sense of the overall responsiveness of administrators.
Uncover Details About Staffing
Adequate staffing is critical to ensure that residents have a safe and healthy environment. Take a look at the level of time nurses are able to spend with patients, whether caretakers have consistent assignments to residents, whether there is a reliance on temporary help, and inquire about staff turnover. This ensures that residents can build relationships and will feel more comfortable and secure. Observe how residents and staff interact – respectful engagement is key- and determine the facility’s engagement in the local community.
If you or a family member has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today. Iowa has regulations regarding the rights to which each nursing home resident is entitled. Holding care facilities accountable for their actions will protect your interests and the well-being of other residents.
Young people ages 31 to 64 make up more than 10 percent of the nursing home population, an increasing trend over previous decades. The reasons range from physical disabilities to mental health problems, which, in many cases could be addressed in a home care setting but, unfortunately, states often lack programs and funding so nursing homes are the only viable option for many.
People of all ages with mental or physical disabilities in nursing homes are at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. They are more vulnerable due to social powerlessness, poor communication skills, an inability to protect themselves due to a lack of instruction and resources, and they have difficulty gauging whether or not another person is trustworthy.
Types of abuse range from physical, emotional or sexual abuse to financial exploitation. Neglect, or a failure to adequately fulfill a care taking obligation, constitutes a large portion of those affected.
Efforts to improve care in nursing homes have been enacted, but there is certainly more work to be done. Nursing homes are required to provide more transparency and accountability so that problems can be detected and addressed. Job training, including instruction in abuse prevention, and requirements that nursing homes take steps internally to reduce civil and criminal violations have been directed in hopes of improving care.
If you or a loved one has been neglected, abused or financially exploited in an Iowa nursing home or residential care setting, contact the law firm of John T. Hemminger for help.
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