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Airbag recall expanded to include 34 million vehicles

Tennessee motorists may wish to visit a website provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to find out if their vehicle is included in what safety experts say is the largest vehicle recall in history. The auto parts maker Takata had already recalled approximately 18 million vehicles because of defective airbags, but that number has since been doubled. Many of the vehicles involved were manufactured by Honda, but Takata also provided airbags to several other manufacturers for installation in vehicles produced between 2000 and 2011.

The Japanese company has been widely criticized for resisting the efforts of regulators to get their defective products off the road, but recalls were ordered when exploding airbags were linked to five U.S. deaths. The victims were drivers and front seat passengers hit by shrapnel following an airbag explosion. The faulty airbags have also been linked to at least 10 serious injuries.

Days bringing higher risk of car accidents in Tennessee

Although a car accident can happen at any time, there are certain days each year in which the likelihood of being involved in one is significantly greater than on other dates. By being aware of when the risks are greater, Tennessee drivers can take additional precautions if they plan to be out on the road at those times.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an average of 400 people are killed across the nation over Memorial Day weekend each year, largely due to the consumption of alcohol by some drivers. The risk of an accident over this weekend is 13.1 times greater than on other days of the year. Similarly, higher accident rates occur on St. Patrick's Day with drunken revelers getting behind the wheels of their cars.

The violence and benefits of airbags

Some people in Tennessee might question the safety of airbags as they can injure people when going off at the wrong time or even when deploying during an accident. This safety device seems to have a certain amount of risk inherent but can also save lives, and these devices work the way they do in an aim to be effective during an accident as there is typically less than a second before a driver or passenger makes contact with a steering wheel or front panel during a collision.

The name "airbag" is a misnomer as these cushions fill and deploy with nitrogen gas and act when an explosion is triggered. The force airbags are triggered with is relatively violent, but experts say that this is a necessary, controlled act intended to counteract the violence of an automobile accident.

Heat-related illness and death in the workplace

When summer approaches and temperatures rise, employees in eastern Tennessee who work outdoors may be concerned about the dangers of excessive heat exposure. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 30 workers across the nation succumbed to heat-related illnesses in 2012, and thousands more became ill. Because the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires that workplaces be kept free of hazards known to cause serious injury or death, employers must protect their employees from serious heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke.

Direct sunlight, humidity and high temperatures coupled with continuous or intense physical exertion are recognized risk factors that could result in illness or incapacitation. However, lack of acclimatization of employees to hot workplace conditions is among the leading causes of on-the-job heat-related illness and death, according to OSHA. Reports indicate that lack of a heat illness prevention program in place to protect employees from the effects of excessive heat is a contributing factor.

Workers' compensation in Tennessee

If you have suffered a work injury or contracted an occupational disease, you are probably dealing with the stress of not being able to work, mounting bills and significant, ongoing medical expenses. Your employer is mandated to provide coverage for injured workers through workers' compensation insurance. You might be worried that waiting for your settlement will take time and you will be unable to take care of your bills in the meantime.

There are several steps you need to take after you have suffered an injury on the job. You must report it to your employer in writing no later than 30 days after it occurred. Your employer will then give you a choice of three doctors, and you will need to choose one. If your doctor orders that your injury necessitates your missing work for seven days or longer, you may be able to get temporary disability payments prior to your application for workers' compensation benefits.

Briefly taking eyes off of the road can be risky

Tennessee drivers might be interested to learn about a new study that shows glancing from the roadway for just two seconds can increase the risk of a car crash. The findings were issued by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in April to correspond with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers limit glances from the roadway to two seconds or less to avoid accidents. However, the Research Institute discovered that a driver's eyes require a moment to readjust when they refocus on the road, which translated into an increase in risk.

Tennessee woman dies in semi-trailer collision

On April 14, a 21-year-old Smyrna woman was fatally injured when a big rig collided with her car on State Route 840 in Smyrna, according to reports. No one else was injured in the accident.

Highway officials say the collision happened around 7:45 a.m. when a 55-year-old Bartlett man driving a big rig in the fast lane of the highway suddenly lost control of his truck and swerved off the highway and into the median. The truck then drove into the opposite lane, where it smashed into an oncoming sports car. The car's driver instantly died when she was hurled from her vehicle in the impact, which tore her car in half.

OSHA's protective clothing regulations

Workers in Tennessee may be interested to learn about regulations that have been issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The regulations are in place to help prevent deaths and serious personal injuries by requiring the wearing of flame-resistant clothing in certain work environments.

The regulations apply to companies that have employees working near flames or who may be exposed to potential electrical arcs. Employers are to assess their workplaces for potential electrical hazards and flames. They must also measure the heat energy from potential electrical arcs, and they must make certain employees are wearing clothing that will not ignite or melt due to exposure.

Sternum fracture concerns in Tennessee

Research has determined that 60 to 90 percent of all sternum fractures are suffered in car accidents. This type of injury is often seen in females and in those over the age of 50, and it is thought to be rare for a child to suffer such an injury. As the sternum covers important parts of the body such as the heart and lungs, an injury to that body part could result in additional injuries or even death.

When the sternum is fractured, it is common for a rib fracture to have also taken place. This could result in damaged blood vessels, collapsed lungs or infection within the bone itself. Blood can get inside of the chest cavity, which causes a condition known as hemothorax. In addition, it may be possible to puncture the heart, rupture the aorta and experience bruising on both the heart and the lungs.

McDonald's feels the heat as employees file OSHA complaints

The most common workplace injuries sustained by fast-food workers in Tennessee and around the country are burns. According to a workplace safety survey, 79 percent of all fast-food employees sustained burn injuries while performing their duties in the twelve months that were covered, and many were burned repeatedly. Given the exposed nature of many of the cooking surfaces and the fast pace required of its employees during a rush, some commentators say McDonald's prizes speed and sales over employee safety and proper training.

A complaint recently filed with OSHA by a group of McDonald's employees in 19 cities alleges an environment fraught with workplace accident hazards and managerial indifference to employee safety. One worker who was burned on the arm stated that when the on-shift supervisor was asked for burn ointment, the manager told him to put mayonnaise on the injury instead of giving proper treatment. McDonald's denies the allegations, claiming the complaints are nothing more than an attempt to smear McDonald's' reputation and safety practices. Six McDonald's franchisees have been investigated by OSHA since the complaints were first aired.

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