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Incidence of drowsy driving alarming

Tennessee residents may understand that driving while tired is dangerous, but they may not know exactly how frequently people do it. A 2015 survey demonstrates that it is a pervasive problem and one that needs to be addressed.

According to the survey conducted by AAA, 43 percent of all drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least one time in their lives. Overall, 31.5 percent of the respondents reported having driven in the past month while having difficulty staying awake. Nearly 40 percent of the drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 reported having done the same in the previous month.

An overview of hand-arm vibration syndrome

Tennessee construction workers using vibrating tools such as jackhammers might be familiar with a prolonged sensation of vibration even after the tools are put away. However, hand-arm vibration syndrome is a more serious issue that could occur because of the use of such tools. Unfortunately, the condition can be difficult to identify and may take between six months and six years to manifest.

HAVS was first identified in quarry workers in 1918. Nearly 90 percent of the workers at an Indiana limestone quarry experienced blanching, a loss of color in their fingers. They also experienced problems with numbness in their hands in connection with their use of air hammers. Additional symptoms of the condition can include pain, tingling, and a weakened grip. Gangrene is rare but can occur in severe instances of HAVS. Experts estimate that at least half of U.S. workers who are at risk of HAVS actually develop the condition. However, numerous cases may be missed due to the similarities between HAVS and carpal tunnel syndrome.

OSHA begins new health care enforcement initiative

On June 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a new health care enforcement initiative to evaluate work-related injuries and illnesses at inpatient health care facilities and nursing homes. This initiative will have a significant impact on health care and nursing facilities in Tennessee and nationwide.

OSHA now requires its regional offices to evaluate several major hazards that occur in health care facilities, including musculoskeletal disorders from patient handling, bloodborne pathogens, workplace violence, tuberculosis and slips, trips and falls. Because there are no OSHA regulations for some of these hazards, the agency has instructed its inspectors to issue citations when an employer has failed to provide a safe work environment.

New ad campaign to target teen drinking and driving

A serious concern on Tennessee roads and throughout the nation, underage drinking and driving is being addressed in a new ad campaign launched in October 2015 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council. The public service effort is aimed at reducing this cause of teen accidents and fatalities. Statistics indicate that motor vehicle accidents account for a significant number of teen deaths in the nation, and in at least 50 percent of these deaths, decedents are drivers. An estimated one-fourth of teen drivers involved in motor vehicle fatalities have been under the influence of alcohol.

The campaign stresses that the long-term results of a drunk driving accident can be much more severe than those of party missteps. It will cover a broad range of print, media, and digital avenues, including the use of television ads, Internet banners and smartphone apps. The campaign has been developed free of charge by ad agencies and software developers.

Road deaths fall by more than a third in three years

Tennessee residents who deal with traffic congestion and distracted drivers on a daily basis may be surprised to learn that the nation's roads have become far safer in the last few years. The number of lives lost in fatal motor vehicle accidents fell by more than a third between 2011 and 2014, and 2014 saw the fewest highway deaths ever recorded. The introduction of passive safety features such as airbags and electronic braking systems in the 1980s are credited with beginning the drop in road deaths, and more advanced safety technology is thought to be largely responsible for the recent surge in accident survival.

Accident fatality statistics vary greatly between states. The roads in Montana are statistically the nation's most dangerous with 23.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013. The country's safest place to travel is the District of Columbia where only 4.6 road users were killed per 100,000 people in that year. The nationwide average was 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

Lifting device could greatly increase workplace safety

Tennessee HVAC workers may have heard about a piece of equipment that could ultimately take the place of ladders at the workplace and thus potentially decrease the amount of injuries. One such apparatus, known as the JLG LiftPod personal portable lift, serves as both a lift and a secure platform and can be easily managed by employees because it weights just under 140 lbs.

The portable lift is especially suitable for large companies requiring frequent maintenance. According to the director of environmental health and safety at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida, the device is an affordable and safer alternative to ladders because it allows maintenance workers to quickly and safely reach heights up to 14 feet or more, while allowing them room to stand while they do their work.

Some of America's most dangerous civilian occupations

Throughout Tennessee, employees face many work-related dangers daily. The Bureau of Labor Statistics annually conducts a Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, and preliminary data for 2014 reveals that the number of recorded work-related fatal injuries around the country was up by 2 percent from 2013's rates. The total on-the-job injuries that proved fatal amounted to 4,585 in 2013, while the total for 2014 was 4,679.

According to the report, 4,251 fatal work-related injuries occurred within the private sector during 2014, a 4 percent increase from 2013. The report also revealed that for every 100,000 full-time equivalent employees 3.3 were fatally injured during the same year.

Proposed OSHA rule clarifies reporting requirements

Tennessee employers may soon have clarification regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration reporting requirements if a proposed rule passes. OSHA requires employers to keep records of an on-the-job injury or illness for five years. The agency is considering amending the law due to an April 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In that ruling, the court ruled against OSHA. The agency had issued citations for the company's failure to record employee injuries going back five years, but the company argued that due to a six-month statute of limitations, OSHA could not issue those citations. The court sided with the company.

GM recall could have an impact on Tennessee drivers

In February 2014, GM recalled 2.6 million cars that had faulty ignition switches. For one 25-year-old woman, it was enough for a judge to vacate her guilty plea on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. Although the plea was vacated, the women still spent three months in county jail and says that she has struggled to find a job after being released.

Her guilty plea stemmed from a September 2010 accident that left a 16-year-old male friend dead. She says that prior to the crash, the car's ignition went into accessory mode, which cut power to the steering and the brakes. She also claims that she wasn't traveling at an unsafe speed and was only going down the street to drop her friend off from school. The woman eventually agreed to an undisclosed settlement with GM that came from its victim compensation fund.

Delayed injury symptoms from a car accident

Tennessee residents who have been involved in a car accident might not always show symptoms of injury right away. Signs can actually appear over time, hours or even days after the incident. Even when some indications do appear, initial medical care usually focuses on alleviating pain through massages, chiropractic visits and even physical therapy. However, even after initial treatment, symptoms might continue or new ones might develop.

Some of the symptoms that might develop after a car collision might be the result of whiplash injuries. According to experts, about 20 percent of people who have been involved in rear-end accidents develop symptoms related to whiplash injuries. These include losing feeling on the arms and hands, which can happen after people injure their spinal column or their neck. Other symptoms related to this might be feeling pain in the neck and shoulder area. Though people might believe these injuries occur in accidents involving high speeds, most injuries related to whiplash happen in accidents where vehicles were traveling at less than 14 miles per hour.

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