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OSHA's work injury reporting has flaws, says OIG

The Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General has released an audit report pointing out flaws in OSHA's reporting of workplace injuries and deaths. Employers and employees in Georgia should know that OSHA revised its injury and illness recordkeeping rule and that the changes went into effect January 2015. The study tested the reliability of injury and fatality data from the start of 2015 to the end of September 2016.

According to estimates from OSHA's former assistant secretary, perhaps 50 percent or more cases of major injuries have gone unreported. The OIG also found that OSHA had limited information about whether employers who reported an incident properly abated the hazard behind it.

Motus analyzes distracted driving trends among mobile workforce

Distracted driving is an issue among all motorists throughout Georgia and across the U.S. However, it is especially a concern among the mobile workforce. Motus, a vehicle management and reimbursement platform, has released a 2018 Distracted Driving Report that links increased smartphone ownership with the rise in car crashes among mobile workers.

Mobile workers are increasingly always connected, which means that smartphone use will become second nature to them while behind the wheel. Motus calculates that mobile workers drive 49 percent more than any other kind of employee and that they drive 1,200 "distracted miles" every year.

Avoiding hydroplaning during the rainy season

The rainy season in Georgia brings an increased risk for hydroplaning. When there's more water on the road than a vehicle's tires can handle, a thin layer of water will develop between the wheels and the ground. This causes the vehicle to float above the road. The thicker this layer of water becomes, the more the vehicle's tires lose traction. When the car skids or slides uncontrollably as a result, it is called hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning can usually be avoided by slowing down and avoiding large puddles. Drivers should be especially cautious in the first 10 minutes or so of rainfall because this is when the water blends with the oily substances on the road and immediately creates a slippery surface. After this, the water will wash away most, but not all, of the residue.

ICU and morgue visits enhance teen drivers' risk education

Teen drivers in Georgia are able to go through a supplemental risk education program when they exhibit consistently poor driving skills. These programs are more frequently coming with interactive, reality-based elements and are being offered by private companies, insurers, government agencies and hospitals across the nation. One such program is the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program, and it was the subject of a recent study.

Researchers from Baylor University focused on 21 teens as they went through the one-day, six-hour program. Set in a hospital, the RED program provides participants with a realistic experience as they talk with healthcare staffers who have treated car crash victims and are guided through the emergency rooms, intensive care unit and morgue. There are also more traditional elements like videos, lectures and discussions.

3 insurance company manipulation tactics

After you have been in a car accident, it is often a major relief to confirm that the drivers involved are all insured. You may assume that this means your injuries and the damage to your car will be taken care of, and while this is ideally the case, it is not always true. All too often, victims of car accidents are put through the wringer yet again when they have to deal with insurance companies after a wreck.

This is likely to be stressful at best, and in more severe circumstances, you may encounter outright manipulation at the hands of an insurer. Insurers are ultimately tasked with making a profit—not protecting their clients—so you should be wary of any of the following common manipulation tactics:

OSHA bulletins address responsbility for temp workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released bulletins that will impact the way host employers and staffing agencies share responsibility for temporary employees. The bulletins are part of OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative and are set to apply in Georgia and across the United States.

The first of the bulletins has to do with OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard. It states that the RPS requires that employees use appropriate respirators for maritime, construction and general industry category work. Employers are required to take steps to identify and examine possible respiratory hazards in the workplace to determine what type of respirator is correct for the circumstances.

Property owners' responsibility when customers get hurt

When people go to an event or a store, they could wind up seriously injured in a slip and fall accident. In some cases, these accidents are caused when people fall because business owners fail to take proper care of their property, putting their customers at risk. Each year, thousands of people are injured across the country by falling on floors, stairs or other surfaces, and these injuries can be serious. Something as simple as uneven ground that is not clearly marked can pose a hazard.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to prove who is at fault for a slip and fall accident. Under the principle of premises liability, property owners are responsible for providing a safe environment for their invitees, like store customers. However, property owners are not necessarily liable for every fall that happens on their property; everyone is responsible to avoid dangerous situations. One important thing to consider is whether the property owner could have prevented the accident by taking additional care. For example, children's swimming pool accidents could be avoided if the property owner securely covered the pool or put up a fence.

IIHS puts autonomous vehicle safety systems to the test

Road safety advocates in Georgia and around the country hope that self-driving cars will one day prevent motor vehicle accident injuries and deaths by eliminating the human error that causes the vast majority of crashes, but a report released on Aug. 7 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that the autonomous systems currently on offer may not be quite as effective as their makers claim.

The nonprofit group tested autonomous safety systems made by Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Volvo and BMW, and it found that they often failed to notice stationary vehicles or objects in the roadway and sometimes even steered vehicles toward dangerous situations. The IIHS researchers made these discoveries after putting the technology to the test on both closed circuits and public roads.

Avoiding car accidents in Georgia

Government traffic accident data shows that the nation's roads have become more dangerous in recent years, and it also reveals that human error is at least partly responsible most of the time. Road fatalities are on the rise in the United States despite improvements in automobile design and safety systems, but there are steps that drivers in Georgia and around the country can take to improve their chances of reaching their destinations unscathed.

Speed makes auto accidents far more deadly, and drivers who hope to avoid injury or death should observe posted speed limits at all times. They should also maintain safe distances and keep their eyes focused on the road ahead. Reading or sending text messages, programming navigation settings and adjusting automobile entertainment systems should only be done when vehicles are stationary.

Tips to preventing machine injuries at the workplace

Modern machines make workers more productive and efficient. However, they also have the power to inflict great harm. In the early days of industrialization, there were few protections for workers using factory equipment. Now, safety standards have made machines a lot safer to use, but incidents still occur. While a small portion of injuries in Georgia are caused by the machines themselves, most are the result of poor maintenance, improper guarding and incorrect use.

Large, powerful machines are most often associated with workplace injuries. However, the reality is that a serious accident can happen on a machine of any size. That's why following proper safety tips is important. Before any worker uses a machine, it should have adequate guarding in place. There are several types of guarding, including barrier guards, two-hand operating devices and light curtains.

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