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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Preventing these 4 common construction workers' accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides regulations for every industry here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States. The federal agency also identifies the most common sources of injury for many industries and offers tips on preventing them. Below are the four most common construction workers' accidents and tips to avoid them.

Nearly every construction worker can attest to the fact that falling is a major concern. Perimeter protection and personal fall arrest equipment help prevent falls, but they might not be enough. Workers should use care when on scaffolds and ladders. Floor openings should be covered and secured, and the covers need labeling for ease of identification.

Products liability matters can be civil and criminal

Pennsylvania residents might not be aware that through 2013 and 2014, 750 people suffered from fungal meningitis due to contaminated steroid injections. According to the Food and Drug Administration, 76 of the victims died. In many products liability matters, civil actions could be filed, but in this case, criminal charges were filed as well.

According to federal authorities, in 2012, New England Compounding center produced and released approximately 10,000 doses of tainted methylprednisolone acetate. The company is accused of using ingredients that were expired, not sterilizing the medicine and failing to correct mold issues in the rooms where the company made the medicines. In 2014, several of the company's executives were criminally charged, and the trial for the first of them is set to begin.

Most widespread products liability debacle of 2016: Cucumbers

Imported cucumbers have recently wreaked havoc on the health of hundreds of people, beginning in 2015. By the end of 2016, 907 people around the country reported contracting Salmonella Poona infections from the tainted cucumbers, including at least one person here in Pennsylvania. Reportedly, 204 people had to be hospitalized due to the infection and six people died. This is said to be the most widespread products liability debacle of 2016.

The nationwide outbreak resulted in the Food and Drug Administration issuing two bans on the cucumbers being imported into the United States. The level of contamination in these cucumbers was so high that the potential for cross-contamination to other surfaces and products existed, but was not confirmed. The outbreak included three different strains of Salmonella Poona as well. 

3 facts parents should know about unsafe baby products

New parents want only the best for their bundle of joy. The issue that some parents find when they are trying to get the gear for their baby is that there are many products that seem amazing on the surface, but are very unsafe to use. It is imperative that parents vet every product that their child is going to use. Even when you take the time to go over every purchase, there is still a chance that a product you thought was safe might injure your child.

Many construction workers' accidents involve falls from heights

Nearly every Pennsylvania industry has its hazards, and employers are required to implement mandated safety precautions and procedures to prevent employees from suffering serious or fatal injuries. In the construction industry, this involves protecting workers from falls. Even so, far too many construction workers' accidents involve falls from which the chance of survival is often questionable.

Investigators are still attempting to figure out how a 59-year-old man fell while working on a building conversion in a neighboring state. Reports are unclear as to whether he fell four floors or from the sixth floor to the fourth floor. What is clear is that he suffered severe head trauma and was rushed to a hospital in the area where he succumbed to his injuries.

Our elderly deserve better than nursing home neglect

As Pennsylvania's elderly require more care, they deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Most families struggle with the decision of whether to put their aging loved ones in nursing homes, and they go to great lengths to find a place they believe will meet or exceed their expectations. Sadly, too many of this country's elderly suffer from nursing home neglect that can result in serious injury or death.

Far too often, family members are the ones who have the responsibility of ensuring the safety and health of their loved ones while in the care of a nursing home. Residents showing signs of malnutrition, dehydration and bedsores, along with bruises, abrasions and other evidence of maltreatment, often are either unaware of their conditions due to being over medicated or are afraid of reprisals for saying something. Family members who notice these maladies have the right to address them with nursing home staff.

Dangerous auto defects threaten lives

Too many Pennsylvania residents are unaware that their vehicles have defective parts that could threaten their lives. Auto defects are not always apparent, even to those who build, distribute and sell the vehicles. Even when an issue is identified, the vehicle's manufacturer might not know how to fix the problem, and in the meantime, drivers could continue to put their lives at risk.

For instance, Toyota recently issued a recall on its Sienna minivan. Apparently, the sliding doors can open while the vehicle is in operation. The company says the recall affects approximately 744,000 of these vehicles, from year 2011 to year 2016. The company claims that this can happen only under certain conditions when completely closing and latching the doors is somehow impeded. This could cause a motor fuse to overload and the door to open.

What to do when auto defects cause serious injury or death

Pennsylvania residents expect their vehicles to be manufactured in accordance with current safety standards. That means that they should be free of defects that could cause serious injury or death. Sadly, not all vehicles or their parts are correctly manufactured, and numerous accidents each year are attributable to auto defects.

For example, it would be a challenge to find a Pennsylvania resident who has not heard about the millions of vehicles that had to be recalled due to defective airbags. Another example is those vehicles that were recalled due to faulty ignition switches. Even tires have been recalled because they would fall apart while vehicles are in operation. These are just some of the auto parts that have led to recalls in recent years.

Avoiding injury while decorating for the holidays

'Tis the season for holiday decorations! While lining the roof of your home seems like an excellent way to win the neighborhood decorating contest, it is important to remember that safety comes first.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 10,000 people per year are treated in hospital due to injuries related to decorating for the holidays.

Products liability news: Contaminated cookie dough recall spreads

Kraft Heinz Company recently announced that it is joining an ever growing list of companies by voluntarily recalling its Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae product due to contamination from Listeria monocytogenes. It was discovered that the cookie dough used in this and other products distributed nationwide, including here in Pennsylvania, were contaminated at a manufacturing and processing plant owned and operated by Aspen Hills, Inc. This potential products liability issue has not resulted in any illnesses -- at least not that Kraft is aware of so far.

Blue Bell Creameries first discovered the contamination. It notified Aspen Hills, which did recall a portion of its cookie dough, but that might not have been enough. Aspen Hills refused to release its customer list, but did verify that the recalled dough was only sold to commercial food manufacturers. Other companies that are involved in this recall include Blue Bunny, House of Flavor and Nurtrisystem, along with Publix and Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company Inc. All of these companies voluntarily recalled products that contain the contaminated cookie dough.

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