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Portland Oregon Personal Injury Law Blog

Did you know that cold stress could be deadly?

Winters in Portland and across Oregon are typically frigid, and although rain is more likely than snow, cold stress remains a significant occupational hazard. If you work in construction, agriculture, or even if your job has you spending hours in freezers, your life may be on the line. Do not lose sight of the fact that cold stress-related conditions can cause amputations or even death, although it is entirely preventable.

Although your employer is responsible for your health and safety, there is a whole lot you can do to stay safe this winter. It all starts with gaining knowledge about the different hazards and learning how to recognize symptoms of cold stress and what do if you notice red flags in yourself or a co-worker.

Study considers link between opioids and fatal two-car crashes

Oregon residents may be taking opioids either for chronic pain or acute injuries. If it is for the former, they may not be so affected by the drug's psychomotor and cognitive effects. If it is for the latter, they are at a greater risk for impairment. In either case, it is inadvisable to mix opioid use with driving because one can become drowsy behind the wheel and cause a crash.

In 1993, 2% of drivers who caused crashes tested positive for opioids. In 2016, that percentage was 7.1%. Though physicians are writing fewer opioid prescriptions, the nation is still undergoing an opioid crisis, and this is affecting people's safety on the road. A study published in JAMA Network Open has recently explored the possible role that opioids play in fatal two-car crashes in particular.

WHO: employee burnout now a diagnosable condition

Many workers in Oregon feel exhausted by their job to the point where they can no longer concentrate on it and carry out their duties professionally. They may regard their job in a mentally distant way and hold negative or cynical thoughts about it. These symptoms suggest a condition called burnout, and according to the World Health Organization, it is now diagnosable.

The WHO defines it, in its occupational context only, as a syndrome that arises from work-related stress that has not been successfully managed. It may be one day that the condition will be classed as an occupational illness, which could make it easier for workers to file a claim over it.

The real cost of driving while distracted

It is not uncommon to hear about automobile accidents caused by distracted driving in Oregon. Around the country, it is estimated that close to nine people die every day because of accidents related to distracted driving. These same types of accidents lead to around 100 injuries every day.

The distractions that drivers face are many. For example, driving in the car with another passenger can be a distraction. Having kids who are misbehaving in the backseat can pose a distraction. Fiddling with the radio, trying to eat fast food, applying makeup, rubbernecking, daydreaming, driving while tired and a whole host of other things can be distractions.

How to drive safely when the weather gets cold

Oregon drivers may be at an increased risk of getting into an accident when roads are covered with ice or snow. However, there are ways of reducing that risk or eliminating it altogether. While on a snowy or icy road, it is important to maintain a constant speed. Slowing down or stopping may result in a vehicle losing traction and sliding off the road.

In some cases, a vehicle will not be able to gain enough traction to move after it comes to a stop. This may be especially true when slowing or stopping on a hill. Ideally, a driver will accelerate before coming to the hill, coast to the top and then slowly apply the brake when going over it. Cars that have modern brake systems may be able to help the vehicle slow down without losing traction or control.

Are you at risk of developing Tendinitis or Tenosynovitis

If you work in the manufacturing industry, food industry, or even in an office in Portland, you might become a victim of Tendinitis or Tenosynovitis, especially if your job requires you to make repetitive motions for hours on end. These conditions develop over time, and it could be excruciating.

These repetitive motion injuries involve tendons and tendon sheaths. Tendons are the strong tissues that attach muscles to bones, such as those in your hand that enable your forearm muscles to move your fingers. Tendons are surrounded by sheaths. Tendinitis is a disease affecting tendons, and Tenosynovitis involves an infection of the tendon sheath.

Tips for staying safe when riding a bicycle

Bicycling is a common way for people in Portland to get around. It saves money, helps them stay in shape and is good for the environment. Still, there are inherent dangers that bicyclists will face. Since drivers will frequently ignore riders or behave recklessly, it is common for bike accidents to occur. These can cause severe injuries and fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages understanding the dangers and being proactive. Avoiding risks is critical for riders and drivers in enhancing safety. For riders, accidents commonly stem from having a collision with an automobile. The most bicycle fatalities happen from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. In 2017, urban areas had three-quarters of the bicycle fatalities. In that year, eight times more men died in bicycle accidents than women. Alcohol was a factor in 37% of all fatal bike crashes.

Car accidents are decreasing in the United States

Oregon drivers may be happy to know that U.S. highway deaths decreased in the year 2018 for the second straight year, and this decrease has continued into 2019. One of the reasons why there are fewer car accidents is because of technology that has been installed in newer vehicles to make them safer.

While it is a definitely good news that fewer lives are taken on U.S. roads, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to make being out on the road safer for drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. Sadly, 36,560 people died on U.S. roads in the year 2018. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking steps to use new technology to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety and reduce the number of deaths in these categories. The organization is also studying changes in its five-star crash assessment program in order to make improvements.

OSHA fines employers for violations in worker death case

Employers in Oregon are required to adhere to regulations created and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and there may be high prices to pay when regulations are ignored. An industrial contractor and a petroleum refining company have been ordered to pay fines of $106,080 after an employee died while working in an enclosed space. The employer was in violation of OSHA regulations because it did not secure a confined space in which work was being performed.

The employee asphyxiated while working in the confined space. According to an OSHA area director, the industrial contractor should not have allowed any employees to enter the space before conducting an evaluation of the risks or making sure safety requirements were met. Among the most egregious oversights was that workers outside of the confined space were incapable of conducting rescue efforts. OSHA also cited the industrial contractor for letting the worker go into the area without sufficient lighting and for assigning rescue team members to other duties.

Study ranks 15 states with highest number of teen drunk drivers

Teenagers should not be drinking any alcohol, much less driving drunk, but both alcohol consumption and drunk driving are frequently reported among teens in Oregon and across the U.S. The CDC states that 5.5% of teens drive after drinking alcohol. By comparison, 3.1% of adults do the same. Drunk driving is behind thousands of crashes and one third of all driving fatalities.

One study from CheapCarInsuranceQuotes.com has shown a correlation between the number of high school students who drink and drive in a given state and that state's overall rate of drunk driving fatalities. Researchers compiled a list of 15 states with the highest statistics.

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