San Antonio Legal Blog

Driverless semitrucks might come before autonomous cars

Autonomous vehicles are a fairly common topic of discussion these days. The chief operating officer (COO) of one company, Plus.ai, believes that self-driving semitrucks might actually be ready for the roads before driverless cars. These findings came late last year when one of the company's trucks hauled butter from California to Pennsylvania.

During that 2,800 mile, three-day trip, there were humans on board. One was a safety driver and the other was a safety engineer. Neither professional had to step in to help the automated vehicle. They only stopped for planned breaks.

What occupational dangers do oil field workers face?

A report published by The Center for Public Integrity in December 2018 highlighted how at least 1,566 oil field workers died on the job between 2008 and 2017. In case you're wondering what resulted in their deaths, you need only to look as far as the more than 10,873 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations that have been filed against companies involved in this industry. Many have horrible safety records.

OSHA records show that at least 64% of the OSHA citations that were issued to oil and gas companies between 2008 and 2018 were for serious hazards. These types of safety breaches were so serious that they could have resulted in workers' serious physical harm or death.

Texas workers' compensation benefits for injured employees

Workers who suffer injuries don't need to have to worry about how they're going to pay the bills related to that accident. They also shouldn't have to worry about how they'll be able to cover the normal expenses if they're unable to return to work right away.

Employers in Texas are required to carry workers' compensation coverage at their expense so that workers who do suffer injuries can count on the benefits the coverage offers. For most employees, there are two primary types of benefits they'll need if they suffer an on-the-job injury.

Seeking damages after you're struck by a semitruck

Victims of a semitruck crash might suffer from serious injuries. In some cases, these wrecks lead to lifelong injuries that cause the person to be unable to hold a job or do the things they enjoyed doing prior to the crash. This can make the victim miserable. It can also cause considerable financial difficulties.

When you're struck by a semitruck, you have the option of filing a lawsuit to recover the damages that you suffer. This is done by showing that the liable parties were negligent and that led to the damages. There are several parties who might be held liable in these cases. The trucker might be one of these, but you have to look beyond them to see if there is anyone else who might share in the liability.

Do you know your ABCs of fall protection on an oil rig?

Workers in the Texas oilfields face an endless list of safety hazards, and their employers are responsible for their safety. However, many workers take their own precautions rather than entrusting their lives in the hands of employers -- many of whom prioritize profits over employee safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists falls as the primary cause of deaths on oil rigs.

Regardless of your job description, the prevalence of elevated work areas on the oil rig will always pose risks of falls with life-changing consequences. Working on small platforms with exposed edges and open holes at heights between 30 and 100 feet pose significant fall hazards.

Are repetitive strain injuries more common among certain workers?

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) can be quite debilitating. They're unlike other medical conditions. Many individuals with RSIs will remain relatively asymptomatic or experience periodic discomfort for months, if not years. The conditions gradually become chronic as the damage to their tendons, nerves and muscles worsen due to repeated usage. RSIs are a medical condition that's more common among some workers than others.

Clerical workers tend to often be afflicted with RSIs. Their repeated use of a computer keyboard or mouse to complete everyday functions is taxing on their muscles, joints and nerves.

Does the size of a car impact safety?

Each year, countless individuals here in San Antonio and other parts of Texas that rush out to buy themselves new cars. A common question that they often research before doing so is whether a vehicle's size impacts safety. Industry research shows that it does matter whether consumers buy smaller sedans or larger cars vehicles such as sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks. The latter tend to fare better in collisions, especially when they involve both a small and large vehicle in the same accident.

When head-on collisions occur, it's often the front of the vehicle that suffers the most damage and impact. Larger vehicles tend to slow the rate of transfer of an impact. This reduces the chance of any force reaching the passenger compartment and, minimizes any occupant's risk of injury.

Injured workers shouldn't be left trying to cover bills

All workers should have a safe place to get their job duties done. This takes work on the part of the employer because they need to provide the protocol and tools to make this happen. While most companies take pride in having a good safety record, others really don't. Instead, they only worry about how they can make more money, even if it means the workers suffer.

Employer negligence shouldn't ever be ignored, so workers who are injured should ensure they are getting the workers' compensation benefits they are due. At a minimum, the coverage should pay for the medical care for the injured worker. This includes the immediate care that's needed, as well as follow-up appointments and other care.

Lone workers have higher risk of injury

Perhaps one of your strong qualities is that you are a self-starter. Your employer may have selected you for the job because you indicated that you enjoy working alone or you proved you need little supervision to get the job done. Like many Texas workers in a variety of professions, you are a lone worker, spending many hours of the day on your own.

As a lone worker, the thought may cross your mind that suffering an injury on the job may have devastating results. If you are in a high-risk job, such as in the oil or gas industry, an accident may mean suffering injuries that prevent you from calling for help. With no one working alongside you, it may be hours before help arrives. These are factors to consider and certainly questions to bring to your employer, whose job it is to provide adequate protection for you.

What are some occupational dangers that oil and gas workers face?

There are many professions out there that are inherently dangerous. Oil and gas extraction jobs are two of the more notable ones. There are many different hazards that workers in this industry have to contend with if they want to keep from getting hurt or losing their life.

The individuals employed in this industry are generally forced to travel significant distances into remote areas to get to their work sites. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data shows that 40% of the workplace fatalities that occur in this industry are caused by auto accidents.

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