San Antonio Legal Blog

What can I do about an OSHA violation at work?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) creates standards that all U.S. employers must follow to ensure workers remain safe and secure. When a violation occurs, workers are encouraged to report incidents to the proper authorities to prevent serious injuries or even loss of life from occurring. The OSHA Education Center offers the following information, which will help you take the right steps in the event that you experience a violation at your place of work. 

OSHA regulations span many different industries and professionals. However, some workers are exempt from these laws. For example, people who work on farms that are owned by immediate family members are not privy to OSHA laws. Industries mandated by federal safety regulations, such as mining, are also exempt. In this case, workplace violations must be reported to the proper authorities. Additionally, people who are self-employed are also considered exempt from OSHA regulations. 

Dropped objects pose deadly hazards to oil and drilling workers

With the many other hazards on the Texas oil fields, the risks that dropped objects pose may not receive enough attention. Work activities on multiple levels are par for the course on drilling sites, and those who work at lower elevations are often the victims of dropped-object injuries. Even small objects like nuts or bolts can be deadly missiles if dropped from high work platforms.

Dropped objects could include equipment and tools or materials mishandled or dropped by workers or left lying around at shift changes or the completion of tasks. They can also be parts or equipment that become detached from their mountings on overhead equipment.

What are the dangers of drowsy driving?

Truckers in Texas usually log long hours on the road. While regulations are in place mandating how much rest truckers should get between hauls, many companies and even truckers themselves fail to follow safe practices. This leads to drowsy driving, which is a real concern among all motorists according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Some motorists have a higher risk of fatigued driving than others. This includes truckers and other commercial drivers, such as those who drive buses for a living. People who work night shifts are also more likely to drive while tired, as are people with sleep disorders or those on certain medications. Keep in mind that any driver can fall victim to drowsy driving when lacking the proper amount of rest each night. The consequences of this seemingly minor issue can be quite severe, as some estimate that up to 6,000 motor vehicle fatalities occurring each year could involve drowsy driving. 

What is sciatica?

Many people experience lower back pain as a result of their professions, which can lead to sciatica. Sciatica is a painful condition that has numerous causes, including spinal stenosis and herniated discs. The Mayo Clinic offers the following information on sciatica so you can take the proper steps to get relief. 

The sciatic nerve starts at the lower back and runs down each leg. When this nerve is compressed, a group of painful symptoms emerges. People experiencing sciatica often have pain that starts in the lower back and radiates the length of one leg, as having pain in both legs is rare with this condition. Some people feel a dull ache while others experience intense pain. Pain can occur when standing, sitting, or lying down. Pain can also occur with a sudden movement. Muscle weakness and a numb feeling are also common with sciatica. 

How can I stay safe on road trips when driving with kids?

A family road trip is a great way to bond with your children while also seeing the sights. The presence of kids during a road trip does complicate matters quite a bit, and it's up to parents to take the proper precautions to ensure the whole family remains safe. In this case, Parents Magazine offers the following advice.

First and foremost, cut back on distractions in your vehicle as much as possible. Keep mobile devices out of reach, only using them when the vehicle is stopped in a safe place. Hands-free devices can also be problematic, as even the act of carrying on a conversation can be a cognitive distraction. You also want to make sure that your children are properly situated in the back seat before taking off for your destination. 

Heavy rain and the risk of a motorcycle accident

On the road, motorcyclists may encounter a number of hazards. Sometimes, these risk factors are the result of a driver’s negligence, such as a large truck driver going too fast or operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, some hazards are a result of poor weather, such as heavy rainfall. Rain can be very dangerous for a number of reasons, since it may not only lead to slick road conditions but may impact visibility as well. Moreover, rain can hit unexpectedly, which may be problematic for motorcyclists who go on long rides to other parts of the state.

It may be smart to stay off of the road if rain or other adverse weather is expected, and many motorcyclists prefer to ride during nicer weather. However, some may not realize that rain is expected, or they may even need to ride their motorcycle regardless of the weather. Not only can rain pose dangers for motorcyclists when no other vehicles are involved, but it may also increase the chances of another driver colliding with a motorcyclist. For example, someone operating a passenger vehicle may lose control while driving around a sharp turn at high speeds when the roads are wet, or their visibility is affected by heavy rain.

Oil refinery injuries can be catastrophic

Perhaps you know people who are thrill seekers. They ride fast motorcycles, hang glide and participate in extreme sports. They love the risk, and they accept that their hobbies may result in injuries. Even those injuries may not stop them from returning to their dangerous activities.

If you work in an oil refinery, you know that every day at work presents the same risk of injury. You don't need studies to tell you how dangerous your work is or how likely it is that you will suffer a catastrophic or fatal injury on the job. In fact, if you witness safety violations or your employer is apathetic about protecting workers from harm, your risk of injury may be even greater.

What should I know about flash fires?

Within the oil and gas industry, the risk of a flash fire is quite high. Flash fires occur when flammable chemicals within the air suddenly ignite, which can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening injuries. While it's up to the management of an oilfield to do all they can to prevent flash fires from occurring, workers should also keep the following points in mind.

Firstly, there is a difference between these types of fires and what are known as fuel-fed fires. Flash fires can be intense but are usually short in duration. Conversely, fuel-fed fires continue to burn until the fuel feeding the fire has been depleted. For a flash fire to occur, three components must be in place. These are a heat source, fuel, and oxygen. The heat source can be anything from an engine to sparks from welding equipment.

What should workers know about ladder safety?

Ladders are commonplace on many worksites in San Antonio. As a result, it's up to employers to ensure staff is appropriately knowledgeable about ladder safety, which prevents falls and devastating injuries. EHS Insight urges supervisors to pass the following tips along to workers so they can protect themselves when hard at work.

All ladders feature a weight capacity. Exceeding this capacity compromises the stability of the ladder and puts workers at risk for serious injuries. It's important to obey other safety rules, such as the proper placement of a ladder. Putting a ladder on an unstable surface can cause it to tip over. It's also dangerous to move a ladder while someone is on it, which can occur when workers feel pressure to complete a task in a timely manner. 

How can I avoid altercations on the road?

Road rage is the scourge of Texas drivers, especially in high-pressure situations. Even if you try your best to keep a calm demeanor behind the wheel, you might still run into an aggressive driver with a bone to pick. In this case, taking steps to diffuse the situation is a must. Esurance explains what you can do if you encounter an aggressive driver. 

Keeping distance between you and other vehicles prevents rear-end accidents. It also gives you some space should an aggressive driver get too close. This often occurs when a motorist wants to go faster than you're currently going. If you can't change lanes, use your signal to indicate that you'll do so as soon as the lane is clear. Once in the clear, refrain from making eye contact with the driver. People prone to road rage may take this as a challenge, which only inflames tension even further. 

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