Tag Archives: safety

Bike Safety Crucial for a Bike-Friendly Lincoln

Posted on by

One of the many benefits of living in Lincoln is a good system of off-street and on-street bike trails. I enjoy riding on the Tierra/Willamsburg, Rock Creek/Antelope Creek, Jamiaca North and Billy Wolf trials for exercise and recreation. Many Lincolnites also bike to work – out of choice or by necessity. Unfortunately, it’s become too commonplace to see headlines about crashes involving bicycles and vehicles, and there have been many in the past couple of years in the local newspaper, the Lincoln Journal Star.

In addition to the news stories written, columnist Cindy Lange-Kubick recently profiled Chris St. Pierre, who compiled Bicycle Crash Analytics (Lincoln, NE)

“In March 2015, I was hit by a car while on my bike in a crosswalk, and was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way. I got interested in bicycle safety and, as a software engineer by trade, I decided to download, parse, and quantify as much crash data as possible from the Lincoln Police Department,” St. Pierre wrote in his compilation. 

Lange-Kubick wrote some details from St. Pierre’s report in her column, and it definitely is both interesting and informative. 

Here are some helpful takeaways:

 “According to the numbers St. Pierre crunched:

  • A majority of car-bike accidents happen in crosswalks (54 percent) or on sidewalks (15 percent). Only 23 percent occurred on streets. 
  • Intersections with the highest number of accidents include Capitol Parkway-Normal Boulevard at 27th, 33rd and South streets; 27th and Vine streets; the ‘entire length of 84th Street’; and Pine Lake at 27th Street.” 

In my personal experience, I am not surprised about the accidents totals along Capital Parkway. The 40th Street/South Street/Normal Boulevard intersection is particularly dangerous. I avoid the intersection of 27th and Pine Lake and cross at the South Pointe trail crosswalk a few blocks north. But I bike for fun. The area around South Pointe mall employs retail, restaurant and fast food workers, some of whom rely on bicycles for transportation to get to work. Crosswalks that are convenient for recreational bicyclists may not necessarily be convenient for those who bicycle out of necessity. 

I’d encourage people to read the rest of the column and St. Pierre’s report, too. “There are easy-to-read pie charts and interesting graphs and funny asides from its author,” Lange-Kubick wrote. 

In addition, those who are bike riders for any reason should familiarize themselves and their loved ones with the local laws. Here’s a link for Lincoln’s bicycle laws. Bicyclists have to largely obey the same laws as motorists do, including yielding the right-of-way to both pedestrians and other vehicles, so as St. Pierre learned the hard way, bicyclists should yield to turning vehicles. 

The only real exception that bicyclists have to obeying the laws of motorists is that bikers can ride on sidewalks in Lincoln, but not in the following areas: downtown, the Haymarket, Havelock, College View, Bethany, and University Place neighborhoods. 

“… Ride your bike, but remember drivers aren’t programmed to look for you – you have to look out for them. And if you’re worried about riding through an intersection, walk,” Sydney Brown, vice president of Bicyclincoln told Lange-Kubick for her column. 

It’s important to know your local laws and what the expectations are for cyclists. By sharing this information with your loved ones, hopefully accident rates will decrease, and folks can worry less and enjoy the ride more. 

Lincoln is working to make bicycles an integral part of our transportation system. Lincoln City Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird has promoted on a bicycle lane on N Street that will connect to our trail system through the Haymarket. This is an effort to make Lincoln more livable and to spur further economic development. Bike safety issues should be and are part of that discussion. But bike safety issues go beyond just the downtown/Haymarket area. I would encourage you to contact Councilwoman Gaylor Baird or the council member in your part of the city about your concerns about bike safety in Lincoln.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Commuting, Safety and tagged , , , , .

Halloween: a Holiday for Children … and the Young at Heart

Posted on by

trick or treatersGuest author Jon L Gelman LLC in New Jersey wrote today’s Halloween safety tips blog post. But just who is Halloween for? It seems these days that Halloween decorations rival the Christmas displays of a couple of decades ago. But does this decadence translate into more fun and understanding for kids? Although I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm the young at heart bring to the party, I would argue that you’re only a kid once, and there’s even a blog post going around that rightly argues to allow even teens to hold on to a childhood ritual of trick-or-treating that one last time, even if it’s for only one night. Halloween also elicits many different emotions in children, even from year to year, but as a parent, I hope for great inclusivity for all children.

Although Halloween comes every year for us adults, it’s important to remember that many children are more impulsive and are more likely to “forget” the rules because they’re excited for the evening’s plans. Especially if you’re working or driving on Halloween, I would add to the tips below by saying to really watch out for trick-or-treaters, regardless of the weather, because even on a clear, bright afternoon, some high-energy kids are challenged by looking both ways to cross the street.

In addition, as a parent of a small child, thanks in advance to everyone who opens up their homes by giving out treats to costumed children. I would also encourage thoughts of continued understanding, so the trick-or-treating experience can be the best one possible for all children who go.

Something that may be a safety tip for many children is to be mindful that different children approach Halloween differently, and it’s not always obvious that a child may be having challenges. There are so many examples I can give, but one that comes to mind includes, for a painfully shy child, just saying trick-or-treat and thank you at each house may be an effort in social graces. And trick-or-treaters on the autism spectrum may not be able to speak at all. Trick-or-treaters with Sensory Processing Disorders might not be able to even wear a costume!

In addition, food allergies are much more prevalent. For my family, Halloween safety tips include bringing a charged cell phone, packing our Auvi-Q epinephrine shots to respond if our child were to have a reaction, and making sure he doesn’t eat anything with nuts or with nut warnings on the wrappers. And bless people for trying, but I don’t think anyone these days takes treats that are homemade, so those are better shared with loved ones. (Fortunately, we don’t have airborne allergies, so it is relatively safe for our son to do trick-or-treating, but we practice what he is to say and do numerous times before the actual trick-or-treating. Different parents have different comfort levels for what they’re willing to expose their children with allergies to, so we respect that, too.)

So for those kind enough to give treats, please don’t take it personally if the response from the trick-or-treater isn’t what you expected. Because in addition to the safety tips below, many families are being as safe as they can for their individual situations, and those needs aren’t readily obvious on the holiday.

Thanks in advance for the empathy and for looking out for the community’s children on one of the biggest and scariest days of the year. Please don’t be offended if something doesn’t go as planned – let’s make it the best Halloween for the kids, and let’s hope trick-or-treaters take and enjoy the nut-free, individually wrapped pretzel packets that we’re leaving on the porch for them!

Halloween traditionally infers scary and dark. Those elements, complicated by sensory limiting costumes and environment, gives rise to the need for elevated safety concerns in the workplace and at-home surrounding Halloween events.

From a fall resulting in a dislocated shoulder, to an open flame resulting in second degree burns, each year the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) receives reports of injuries involving Halloween-related costumes, décor, and lighting. These incidents are preventable. Using CPSC’s three-step safety check (pdf), consumers can ensure that their fright night fun is not haunted by Halloween injuries

“Too often Halloween make believe has resulted in real life injury,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Fortunately, prevention is simple. Choose flameless candles, flame-retardant materials, and well-fitting costumes to reduce the risk of injury this Halloween.”

With CPSC’s quick and easy Halloween safety check (pdf) and just five minutes of inspection, consumers can avoid problems that previously have plagued the trick-or-treat trail. This safety check will help consumers to: (1) prevent fires and burns, (2) ensure that kids can see and be seen, and (3) outfit kids for safety.

Halloween-related incidents can involve a number of hazards, including burns from flammable costumes that come into contact with open flames-particularly candles used to illuminate jack-o-lanterns; falls and abrasions from ill-fitting costumes, shoes, and accessories; and fires caused by burning candles left unattended, near combustible decorations or knocked over by kids and pets.

The federal Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) requires costumes sold at retail to be flame-resistant. To prevent costume-related burns, CPSC enforces this requirement and recalls costumes and other products that violate the FFA. When making a costume at home, CPSC encourages consumers to use fabrics that inherently are flame resistant, such as nylon and polyester.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Halloween ranks among the top 5 days of the year for candle-related fires. To prevent candle fires, CPSC encourages consumers never to leave a burning candle unattended. Battery-operated flameless candles and other flameless lighting are safe alternatives to traditional candles.

Unique jack o’ lanterns and creatively-carved pumpkins are a new popular trend. Read CPSC’s OnSafety blog on pumpkin-carving injuries and how to prevent them

Additional safety tips to help make this year’s holiday safe:

Decorations

Halloween DecorationsKeep candles and jack o’ lanterns away from landings and doorsteps, where costumes could brush against the flame.

Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
When indoors, keep candles and jack o’ lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other items that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.

Whether indoors or outside, use only decorative light strands that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.

Don’t overload extension cords.

Costumes

Halloween costumes

When purchasing costumes, masks, beards, and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics, such as nylon or polyester; or look for the label “Flame Resistant.” Flame-resistant fabrics will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. To reduce the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves, large capes, or billowing skirts.

Purchase or make costumes that are light colored, bright, and clearly visible to motorists.
For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags or sacks also should be light-colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle, and sporting goods stores.

Children should carry flashlights to be able to see and to be seen.

To guard against trips and falls, costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground.
Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. High heels are not a good idea.
Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children’s eyes and obstructing their vision.

If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has holes for eyes large enough to allow full vision.

Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.

Treats

halloween treatsChildren should not eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.

Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters who are younger than 3 years of age. Do not allow young children to have any items that are small enough to present a choking hazard or that have small parts or components that could separate during use and present a choking hazard.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Community, Dangerous Products, Holiday, holidays and tagged , , , , , .

Be Safe, and Happy Independence Day!

Posted on by

Please be safe, and have a Happy Independence Day tomorrow. 

The firm’s offices will close today at 2:30 p.m. and be closed on Friday, July 4, for the Independence Day holiday. We will be open on Monday, July 7, at 8:30 a.m.

The Fourth of July means different things to different folks. Here’s a list of web resources and other commentary to help you have both a safe and fun holiday, with an emphasis on safe. Because it’s possible to still have fun while being safe.

  • This link includes tips on fireworks, grilling, beaches, rip currents and sun protection. I would add that the beach safety tips easily translate to lake or river safety for those of us in the land-locked states of Iowa and Nebraska.  
  • This link from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages “safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics.” I think this safety focus also applies to volunteers who sell fireworks at non-profit stands.    
  • This link explains how the holiday can be challenging “for people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” because “of high levels of smoke from fireworks.”   
  • This link from the @NICoEPage Twitter feed explains that for those who have served in the military or have traumatic brain injuries, holiday events can cause both stress and anxiety.   The Twitter account describes the focus of this effort as follows: “Advancing understanding of complex TBI and psychological health conditions for service members, their families, and the MHS.” … “Healing the Invisible Wounds of War.”  

Please also be aware, when working with fireworks, of any local laws that affect when a person can use fireworks and the fireworks that can be used. Do you know what the laws (and penalties) are where you’ll be celebrating the holiday? And who is responsible for the cleanup afterwards?

For example, read this extensive quote, found via the Omaha Police Department Facebook page:

“So, we’ve mentioned that you can use fireworks between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. until July 4th. Some other fireworks related rules to remember are that fireworks are not allowed in city parks, and you cannot discharge fireworks on a public street. Also, if you are throwing fireworks, take the following information into account.

28-1242. Unlawful throwing of fireworks; penalty.

(1) A person commits the offense of unlawful throwing of fireworks if he or she throws any firework, or any object which explodes upon contact with another object: (a) From or into a motor vehicle; (b) onto any street, highway, or sidewalk; (c) at or near any person; (d) into any building; or (e) into or at any group of persons.

(2) Unlawful throwing of fireworks is a Class III misdemeanor.”

Finally, here’s a reminder to take care when driving on the weekend of the Fourth. From today through Saturday, Nebraska State Patrol will be out in full force thanks to a grant. “Special enforcement efforts will focus on safe driving practices with an emphasis on crash causing behaviors such as speeding, following too closely, impaired and distracted driving,” according to a news release found at this link under Nebraska State Patrol News.  

Again, please have a safe and happy Independence Day!

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Firm News and tagged , , , , , .

Remember Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28

Posted on by

The writers of this blog spend a lot of time encouraging readers to reflect by thinking about the lives of others who are less fortunate, where each individual reader has been, and where they are headed. We often encourage advocates for workers’ rights and safety. This encouragement does sometimes come at the expense of business profits. But keeping workers safe is always the right thing to do.

Observing Workers’ Memorial Day on Monday, April 28, is one way to take the time to reflect, act as an advocate, and help workers and their loved ones. This AFL-CIO fact sheet included the thought-provoking quotation below, along with some specific points that encourage action.

“This year we will come together to call for good jobs in this country for all workers. We will seek stronger safeguards to prevent injuries and save lives. We will stand for the right of all workers to raise job safety concerns without fear of retaliation, and for the freedom to form unions and speak out and bargain for respect and a better future.”

By reflecting on the risks that all workers take and acting to promote safety, we think Workers’ Memorial Day will be even more successful. And most importantly, all of our loved ones will have safer workplaces.

There are many resources to access to find out more about Workers’ Memorial Day events near you. Today’s blog post was written a couple of weeks in advance of the events so people can plan ahead to attend.

Here are some links, along with the specific information for Nebraska and Iowa:

Iowa

Nebraska has three separate events available to the public this year. 

  • USMWF’s 5K Family Fun Run/Walk Fundraiser
    Sunday, April 27, 1:30 p.m., Registration Starts
    Holmes Lake Park, Lincoln
    via http://www.usmwf.org/NE5KRUN.htm to sign up, learn about fees, and get more details about the event
  • Nebraska’s 3rd Annual Safety Expo
    Monday, April 28, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
    IBEW Local 265 Union Hall, 6200 S. 14th St., Lincoln
    Via http://www.usmwf.org/NE5KRUN.htm
    The event is free, but space is limited, and registration is required by printing out or emailing this form http://www.usmwf.org/safety_expo_form.pdf As of April 9, there were still spaces available to attend.
  • 5th Annual Workers’ Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil
    Monday, Apr. 28, 7 p.m.
    Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln
    via http://www.usmwf.org/NE5KRUN.htm This event is also free, and no registration is needed.
    According to the Lancaster County Democratic Party, via email in 2013, “representatives from State, Federal, United Support Memorial for Workplace Fatalities (USMWF), Unions, Co-workers, Employers and the community come together and honor the men and women that have been injured or killed in a preventable work related incident.”

Please see the websites below for more general details about Workers’ Memorial Day: http://www.workermemorialday.org/WMD2014.htm  

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Iowa, Nebraska, Workplace Safety and tagged , , , , , , , .

The Vanishing Concept of a Job

Posted on by

Today’s post comes from respected colleague Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. The idea of a steady job has evolved into instability for the worker, Mr. Gelman writes. This instability also means that because of the way temporary workers are employed, employers have no financial motivation to keep workers as safe as possible. And when a worker gets hurt, the transitory nature of a job translates to the hurt worker being more likely to be forced pay for their own injury or “the public at large” having to foot the bill. While the whole blog post is important for workers to consider, it’s also important for “the public at large” to consider, since workers’ injuries can end up affecting our pocketbooks while the businesses are able to collect their profits and put degrees of separation between them and the injured worker.

While reviewing some historical cases today, I realized that what is missing from the workplace is the concept of “a job.” America’s economy has dramatically changed, and so have jobs that were once available its workforce.

Even clearer is the fact that the concept of a job has disappeared. The idea of getting up in the morning and going regularly to a job has even vanished. The evolution changed slowly with the young generation claiming that a job cycle transformed from a lifetime position to one lasting two years. Then the next stage in the evolution occurred, where the employee became a transient worker and daily the job changed and no stable employer really exists.

This evolution has eroded the underlining framework of a functional workers’ compensation program and the delivery of benefits. The injured worker becomes lost to the system, and a safe and secure workplace becomes an illusion. Lost in the complexity is the adequate reporting of accidents and occupational disease, and the ability to accurately follow the evolution of latent diseases and medical conditions.

“A new trend in the U.S. labor market is reshaping how management and workers think about employment, while at the same time reshaping the field of occupational safety and health. More and more workers are being employed through “contingent work” relationships. Day laborers hired on a street corner for construction or farming work, warehouse laborers hired through staffing agencies, and hotel housekeepers supplied by temp firms are common examples, because their employment is contingent upon short term fluctuations in demand for workers. Their shared experience is one of little job security, low wages, minimal opportunities for advancement, and, all too often, hazardous working conditions. When hazards lead to work-related injuries, the contingent nature of the employment relationship can exacerbate the negative consequences for the injured worker and society. The worker might quickly find herself out of a job and, depending on the severity of the injury, the prospects of new employment might be slim. Employer-based health insurance is a rarity for contingent workers, so the costs of treating injuries are typically shifted to the worker or the public at large. Because employers who hire workers on a contingent basis do not directly pay for workers’ compensation and health insurance, they are likely to be insulated from premium adjustments based on the cost of workers’ injuries. As a result, employers of contingent labor may escape the financial incentives that are a main driver of business decisions to eliminate hazards for other workers.”

Click here to read “At the Company’s Mercy: Protecting Contingent Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions”

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Misclassification and tagged , , , , , .