Preventing Workplace Injuries

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Injuries at Work | 1 comment

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), a federal law that was passed in 1970, obliges all employers in both public and private firms to make sure that their workplace is free of any form of recognized hazards for the ensured safety and health of all their employees. A year after it was established, it paved the way for the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is tasked to strictly enforce the values created under OSH Act.

A number of the goals that OSHA is specifically charged with are:

  • Implement the Act’s standards
  • Ensure safety and health in all working environments
  • Encourage and assist all states in assuring occupational safety and health
  • Provide for the evaluation, analysis, development, and approval of programs on workplace safety and health
  • Create training programs that will help increase the number and competency of occupational safety and health workers
  • Monitor job-related injuries and illnesses

Despite the laws, many employees still get injured or ill in the workplace due to poor maintenance or carelessness of people in the office (sometimes even of the victims themselves). According to the US Department of Labor, the most common causes of workplace injuries are overexertion, slipping/tripping, falling from heights, bodily reaction, falling objects, bumping against or being struck by an object, job-related road accident, getting entangled in a machine, repetitive motion and, violent acts.

On its website, the LaMarca Law Group, explain how injuries can greatly affect one’s present and future life, as well as professional growth in the company where one has chosen to enjoy work. Injuries can debilitate not only a person’s physical capabilities, but his/her chances for great professional opportunities too.

To substantially reduce the high number of workplace injuries, many companies, beginning in 1990, have turned to functional employment testing firms to help them recruit the right persons for specific job positions that needed filling. A functional or pre-employment testing firm gauges job applicants’ skills and strengths in relation to the jobs they are applying for and determines if they are really the right persons to be employed. By making sure that applicants possess the required maturity and emotional, mental and physical fitness required by the job, employers will also know the applicants’ apparent maximum functional capacity, which will help guarantee their protection against possible job-related injuries.

By accurately matching candidates’ strengths, skills, and physical and mental capabilities to the right job, pre-employment testing firms have also helped in creating a much healthier and safer working environment, as well as significantly reduce office injuries and cost in compensation claims, which is one of the biggest concerns of many companies.

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Dangerous Products: GranuFlo

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Product Defects | 0 comments

The main function of the kidneys is to help balance salt, water and electrolytes (minerals) in the blood and remove waste products from the body by converting all wastes and extra fluid to urine. Thus, when the kidneys fail to function properly a medical procedure called dialysis will have to be performed. This medical procedure is supposed to continue removing wastes, such as urea and creatinine, from the body to keep the blood clean and the patient, healthy.

Since it was introduced in 2003, GranuFlo, a dry acid concentrate, has been used as a chemical component in thousands of dialysis treatments in the US. This dialysate was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003; it is manufactured by Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), a German company that controls the dialysis market in the US (Granuflo has a liquid counterpart called NaturaLyte, which is also manufactured by FMC. It is used as an alternative to Granuflo in dialysis treatments).

In 2010 there were as many as 941 hemodialysis patients who suffered cardiac arrest after receiving GranuFlo and NaturaLyte treatments within (667) Fresenius dialysis clinics. This incidence, plus the mention of the much greater risk of low blood pressure, cardiopulmonary arrest, metabolic alkalosis, stroke, myocardial infarction and heart attack, in patients treated with GranuFlo or NaturaLyte was included in an internal memo sent by FMC to physicians in FMC-owned dialysis centers. This memo, which warned of the potential deadly adverse effects of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, was never sent to thousands of other physicians, who run their own clinics or worked in hospitals, resulting in the continuous use of the hazardous products in patients.

A copy of the memo later reached the FDA, prompting the agency to issue a Class 1 recall of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte in March of 2012 (Class 1 is FDA’s most serious class of recall; it is issued whenever the agency sees a reasonable likelihood that exposure or use of the product in question can cause severe adverse health consequences or patient death).

In the District of Massachusetts alone, almost 2000 lawsuits have already been filed against Fresenius, as of July 2014, while in all other states, lawsuits continue to mount against the German manufacturers for deaths and injuries resulting from the use of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte.

A serious illness kidney failure already is, a patient definitely does not need any other incidence that will further worsen his/her circumstances. Lawyers and a Detroit personal injury lawyer are the most competent legal allies a victim can have in pursuing the compensation that he/she is legally entitled to from the negligent German firm Fresenius Medical Care.

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Copyright Law

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 in Copyrights | 2 comments

Original ideas give birth to new and handy devices, products, services, and sources of fun, inspiration and entertainment. Due to the tremendous benefits nations and peoples enjoy from these innovative accomplishments, creative thinkers are more encouraged to continue in their conception and creation of anything, whether in the form of science or art, which will always prove useful and helpful to countless generations. As a form of gratitude and in recognition of their valuable work, governments give protection on the original works of individuals.

The US government, specifically, through the intellectual property laws, such as the Copyright Act, Trademark law, Trade Secret law, and Patent law, ensure thinkers of their exclusive right over their work, while simultaneously protecting their works from imitators. These laws protect any form of new inventions, symbols, designs, new products, newly formed words, discoveries, business logo, a product’s formula, music, paintings, literary pieces, and any other type of original concept or design.

The copyright law, for instance, is meant to protect both published and unpublished original artistic works, such as books, photographs, sculptures, paintings, music, motion pictures, architectural designs, and computer programs. It is also intended to promote the Science and the Arts, while allowing economic incentives to authors at the same time.

A copyright lasts with the author’s life plus 70 more years after the author’s death (original works created before 1978 had been given copyright protection for 75 years). During such time, this statutory property right gives authors the right to:

  • Publicly distribute their copyrighted work for profit, while prohibiting others from enjoying the same
  • Reproduce their copyrighted work
  • Display their work in public
  • Use their copyrighted work in producing derivative works, such as a movie

The other laws and what these protect are as follows:

  • Trademark (also called brand name or service mark) is protection given to an original name, slogans or logo that directly identifies the source or producer of goods and/or services. Trademarks help consumers distinguish a particular brand from other suppliers of goods and services.
  • Patent law, which prohibits the exact copying of any original material invention, also gives inventors the legal right to exclude anyone from copying and/or selling any of their original work/s, as well the privilege to temporarily or permanently transfer to another, through renting, selling, mortgage, or inheritance, the right over their work/s. A patent lasts for 20 years, starting on the day when the application for the patent was filed. As it expires or becomes invalid, however, so does the prohibition from using or copying it.
  • Trade secrets, which can be any form of information, like a program, formula, process, method, technique, or device, that gets economic value, (in the present or in the future) from not being illegally disclosed to, or used, by another.

Any form of violation of any of the intellectual property laws merits the attention of a highly capable lawyer, like a Dallas copyright lawyer, to bring the violator to justice and compensate the damages (where such exist) of the work’s author.

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Personal Injury – Wrongful Death

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Wrongful Death | 0 comments

When an accident occurs, there are, almost always, two consequences: property damage and personal injury. A personal injury is the result of another person’s or party’s negligence and it can happen through various ways, including, but not limited to: car accidents; truck accidents; motorcycle accidents; medical malpractice; construction accidents; dangerous products; slip and fall accident; or, nursing home negligence.

According to the website of the Jeff Sampson law firm, reckless or negligent act resulting in personal injury is considered a civil offense or a tortious act. This is different from a criminal offense and the courts work differently for either type of case. Under the law, the person or party (called a tortfeasor) who/which caused the injury is legally required to compensate the victim for all the damages that he/she has been and will still be subjected to due to the injury; these include lost wages, cost of medical treatment and others.

There are extreme cases, however, when the effect of an accident is much more damaging than a severe injury; there are times when it leads to a victim’s wrongful or untimely death. In the event of death a representative, who would act on behalf of the victim’s survivors (legally identified as “real parties in interest”), can file a lawsuit called a wrongful death claim.

The identities of real parties in interest vary from one state to another. They may be:

  • The deceased victim’s immediate family, which includes the spouse, child/children and/or adopted children
  • Distant family members, like brothers and sisters, and grandparents
  • Those directly financially affected by the victim’s death due to the cessation of the victim’s care or support;
  • The deceased victim’s (financial) dependents, life partner or putative spouse (a person who sincerely believes that he/she and the deceased were married)
  • Parents of a deceased fetus (while there are states that consider as real parties in interest only the parents of child already born, there are those, on the other hand, that consider the fetus’ death a basis for a wrongful death claim)

A wrongful death lawsuit is not a simple procedure and even if the liable party were willing to settle with the victim’s survivors, the amount of compensation given is often not a just amount. In this type of legal procedure, it is highly necessary that the deceased victim’s survivors are represented by an able lawyer, whose expertise, experience and dedication are unquestionable. A personal injury lawyer is the legal professional whose services can be used for this type of lawsuit.

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Personal injury: Compensation for Construction-related Accidents

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in Injuries at Work | 0 comments

“Safety first” ought to be a basic rule in working environments, most especially in construction sites, where so many hazardous sharp and heavy tools, equipment and flammable substances are used. There are standards, of course, on how to use, store and maintain all of these – a necessity that needs to be strictly imposed and observed by all employers, managers and workers. Sometimes, though, despite the care, construction workers still end up sustaining injuries or illnesses because of the unsafe fumes and dust, exposed electrical wires, heavy machinery and the high places where they need to do their work. Sometimes, these rules are ignored altogether. The negligence involved making crippling injury far more likely. Both federal and state governments enforce rules that would keep all types of working environments safe and healthy for all workers. The passing into law of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 is one mandate that was intended to ensure and promote workplace safety and health. And to be able to closely monitor the observance these rules, the OSH Act gave existence to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971. Particularly in construction sites, OSHA requires the following:

  • Proper lighting in the construction area
  • Worker protection from falls and/or falling objects
  • Wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Strong and safe ladders, stairways and properly assembled scaffoldings
  • Fire extinguishers (with 2A rating) every 3000 square feet
  • Body-flushing and eye-washing areas every 25 feet from battery-changing areas
  • Accident-prevention signs that are properly displayed and clearly visible (these also ought to be removed when there are no more hazards in the area)
  • Installation of ground fault-circuit interrupters (GFCIs)

If an accident occurs, however, it is advisable that the victim contact a personal injury lawyer immediately, to help him/her determine the most ideal course of action that need to be taken to enable him/her to receive the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law. According to the website of the Jeff Sampson law firm, this financial assistance that will help cover costly medical expenses, lost wages and others, may be received through the Workers’ Compensation Insurance plan; however, if the injury is serious or leads to death, then the victim’s lawyer can assist him/her in pursuing further claims through a civil lawsuit. This could come in the form of a wrongful death action. There are many ways an attorney may hold a company accountable for injured workers. There are also times when a worker rather develops an illness, but which only becomes manifest months or years after having retired from work.

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