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North Carolina Law Blog

Workplace injury risks for teens

Many of our Charlotte readers know that one of the proudest moments a parent has is when their child gets their first job. Whether it's a part-time job at a car wash or restaurant or office, it can be a big part of the transition from teen to adult.

While the rewards of work for young people cannot be overstated, it is at the same time important to mention that with those rewards comes a certain amount of risk of on-the-job accident and injury. We read recently of a young man who is devoting himself to educating teens about those risks so that none of them will have to deal with the type of event that changed his life.

Speed, drunkenness, mayhem on a North Carolina morning

If you take Interstate 85 northeast of Charlotte, you will soon come to Salisbury. A recent motor vehicle crash there combined several elements common in serious accidents: an allegedly drunk driver, high speeds and poor judgment. The result was a three-car crash that caused injuries to motorists.

Law enforcement officials said the accident occurred in morning rush hour traffic when an apparently intoxicated 43-year-old man going more than 100 miles per hour crossed the center line and slammed into a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.

Smoke clears around source of added pain

One of the worst injuries a person can suffer is to their spinal cord. The effects of the injury depend, of course, on severity, but also on which vertebrae is damaged. According to new research, there is evidence showing that pain is worsened in people with spinal cord injury by a substance well known for the damage it causes to humans: cigarette smoke.

The news will hopefully provide more motivation to those disabled by a spinal cord injury to give up smoking if they have not already done so. A professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering involved in the research said the new finds show that "smoking increases pain in patients with spinal cord injuries."

Study: Wide variance in workers' comp benefits

There is a whole host of concerns that a person experiences when they are injured at work. First and foremost, of course, there are health issues to be taken care of.

But once those have been addressed and recovery has begun, someone who faces the possibility of missing work and and paychecks begins to think about the level of income benefits they can expect to receive from North Carolina workers' compensation.

Distracted trucker accidently shoots himself

We have heard of North Carolina truck drivers who have done dangerous things that they shouldn't while they are behind the wheels of their big rigs. Some truckers have caused accidents while being distracted by their phone (texting, email, etc.) and some by the GPS system on their truck's dashboard. Others have had their focus diverted by food and drink, conversations, the radio and the like.

A recent news media article highlighted another form of distracted driving, however, when a big rig driver admitted that he had accidently shot himself while rolling down an interstate highway.

Silica: A potentially fatal material in the workplace

You have been working in construction for years, and you've always been exposed to sands and concrete. Lately, you've felt like you can't catch your breath. What could be the issue? One potential cause is a respiratory illness from inhaling silica.

Silica is not typically hazardous unless it's inhaled. It comes in a number of forms, from sand and quartz to other common materials. Whenever you drill, cut or grind materials like these, the silica is launched into the air in the form of small particles. These have the potential to cause disturbances to the lungs and illnesses after prolonged exposure.

Advice for cutting down workplace injuries

Many of our regular readers understand the importance to the North Carolina economy of a robust timber industry, though you might not be as familiar with Pallet Enterprises, a publication focused on news and information for sawmill operators and wood processors.

The magazine recently ran an article by a safety consultant who works with not only the timber industry, but also companies in construction, trucking, agriculture and more. The consultant shared a list of suggestions for ergonomics and work behaviors to avoid that can help reduce the risk of work-related injuries in a wide variety of workplaces.

Doctor: Here's why some injured workers don't claim workers' comp

A recent article by a family physician details issues he sees frequently with workers who come to his clinic with injuries they have sustained on the job. The doctor cited the case of a construction worker who had a concrete slab fall on his back and neck.

Though his injuries turned out to be fairly routine, the paperwork filed with the clinic was not: it contained no forms for workers' compensation.

Going without: Disabled Americans often struggle to get good food

We see the stories in Charlotte news media and in articles and broadcast reports from newspapers and broadcasters from around the nation: skewed portrayals of the lives of people forced to give up work and apply for disability benefits. So many of these reports present political opinions rather than accurate descriptions of people struggling with illness or injury and trying to get by on SSDI.

A new study shows how difficult it is for people receiving disability benefits to get adequate amounts of healthful food.

Start summer safely with National Safety Month

It is time for North Carolina weather to get hot and sticky. Summer is starting, which means lots of outdoor fun on lakes and rivers, as well as picnics, hiking, camping, road trips and more.

Summer is also the time to keep indoor activities in the workplace safe. The National Safety Council has designated June as National Safety Month and it is leading efforts to get employers and employees alike to reduce the number of workplace injuries.

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