Tag Archives: improper maintenance

Coronavirus protection plan in the workplace :: Employer’s responsibility?

New York – Many people are concerned about their own health as well as that of the people around them during this coronavirus outbreak. A common question that comes up is, what is the responsibility of the employer during these perilous times? Can an employer require workers to come in to work? Should they? Some jobs are vital for society and the well being of everyone. However, other jobs are less so and this should be taken into consideration by a boss. The driving force in decision making should involve the health and well being of employees and customers, and not just money. Workers should be encouraged to work from home or at off times when the office or workplace is relatively empty. In addition, the workplace should be kept clean and disinfected on a very regular basis to avoid getting workers and customers sick. A central thought of employers during this time must be to prevent a work illness or work injury. This may mean that a company will need to work on setting up the employee with adequate work-at-home accommodations and allowances as needed. Employers and companies should ensure a safer environment by also sending home any worker who shows any signs of illness, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath. The concept is similar to the requirement on employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment in general. For example, good lighting in an office or warehouse to prevent a trip and fall; proper safety equipment on a dangerous construction site; or constant diligence to avoid broken equipment from improper maintenance. In addition, employers should make reasonable efforts to educate their workers and staff on how to protect themselves at work. Systems should be set up by managers and bosses to prevent clumping of customers and workers to prevent spread of the disease. Clear signs and instructions as well as any necessary personal protection equipment and safe cleaning supplies should be made available to staff and customers to prevent a dangerous situation. You can see this article for more guidance on how to prevent getting sick from COVID-19 in the workplace.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Senado Federal [License]

Wind turbine blade breaks off and crashes into car

New York – Alternative energy sources are becoming ever popular in the past years, leading to concern regarding public safety and potential improper maintenance issues. Only a few weeks ago a tall and powerful wind turbine in the Bronx suffered a dangerous breakdown. A blade from the wind turbine tower broke off and collapsed onto the parking area and road below. This has led to concerns by public safety advocates who decry the race to put together new technologies as fast as possible. Some claim that large companies and even some private investors have raced to build things such as wind turbines without proper safety practices in place, all in an effort to earn profits. They note that businesses have looked toward the profits without considering the hazardous condition that can be created, especially in residential and urban areas. Land is expensive and some real estate developers have looked toward new technologies such as turbines being placed in close proximity to homes, stores and parks. However, the potential for disaster with collapse, falling debris, faulty parts and poor safety practices is very real and must be considered carefully when planning and building such technologies. Cell phone towers have also been discussed as a potential health and safety hazard in residential areas according to specialists. Many zoning and health councils have discussed the potential of cell phone towers causing cancer and the debates continue. Some see the discussion of constructing wind turbines in heavily populated areas as yet another dangerous situation that needs to be addressed by city officials. They feel that accident injuries can easily occur if broken pieces of debris collapse and fall on a pedestrian or building or if it causes a car crash. Restrictive planning along with intense safety inspections and constant maintenance is necessary to prevent injuries or wrongful death. You can see this article for more details.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Bill Smith [License]

Building facade collapse kills woman on Manhattan sidewalk

New York – Building debris collapsed down onto the sidewalk below in Midtown Manhattan just two days ago. A heavy section of facade apparently fell off of the face of the building and collapsed onto the pedestrians walking below. At least one section of rubble struck a 60-year-old woman, causing her to lose consciousness. She reportedly suffered a head injury with traumatic brain injury (TBI) during the deadly accident. Emergency responders arrived to find the woman in cardiac arrest from the accident injuries. They believe the traumatic arrest was due to a skull fracture with massive bleeding in her brain. Emergency medical services attempted to resuscitate the injury victim but were unsuccessful according to witnesses. Her injuries were so severe that the victim was pronounced dead at the scene according to officials.

Citizens in New York City expressed concern for their safety when hearing about this tragedy. No one expects debris to suddenly fall from the sky. City safety inspectors from the buildings department had cited this very building’s owner for an apparently related safety hazard. Records show that this building owner was issued a ticket for improper maintenance of the building’s facade only around eight months ago. They apparently paid the fine but it is unclear whether the underlying hazardous condition was fully addressed. A safety law in New York City requires proper professional inspections of the facade of buildings every five years minimally in order to prevent a dangerous situation similar to this pedestrian accident. Building inspectors will continue their investigation into this tragedy to determine the cause of the accident with fatal injuries. In the meantime, a scaffolding was constructed around the building to prevent another immediate accident or wrongful death. You can see this article for more.

Photo of safety scaffolding for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: therealbridgetpalmer [License]

School bus accident leaves multiple injured victims

New York – A school bus crash in the Bronx left at least 18 accident victims. Witnesses report that a minivan broadsided the bus for an unknown reason, setting off a series of subsequent collisions. Reports show that the van accident was apparently caused by an unlicensed driver who hit the bus, possibly while speeding. One report noted that the driver of the vehicle that struck the bus may have ran a red light. Meanwhile, the initial crash made the bus driver lose control of his vehicle and sent the bus slamming into several other cars. The multi vehicle crash sent many of the injured teenagers to the hospital for evaluation. The extent of their wounds is unclear but a trauma specialist noted that some of the injuries may be latent and may require long-term evaluation and treatment. This can include joint injuries such as a shoulder injury or knee injury as well and neck and back pain. Crashes involving such a large and heavy vehicle such as a bus can cause more significant injury. However, sometimes even more important is that an accident victim may not have a seatbelt on during the crash. In fact, some buses don’t even have properly functioning seatbelts due to manufacturing and safety issues as well as improper maintenance. See this article for more details about the Bronx bus accident.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: sittered [License]

Bus passenger ejected through windshield after driver makes short stop

New York – Officials explain that a private tour bus was driving into Manhattan when it suddenly stopped short, sending a passenger slamming into the windshield. The driver of the charter bus stated that he had to make the sudden stop when he realized that he was coming up to a red light. It is unclear how fast the bus was traveling at the time of the accident. The victim then crashed through the window and fell on the street, causing multiple injuries, including a head injury. The injured man apparently fell out of the window, which did not shatter but rather broke away from its frame. Safety activists familiar with the bus accident note that the windshield equipment should be investigated to find out why it failed. Negligent installation as well as improper maintenance could be responsible but a dangerous manufacturing defect must also be ruled out. Although some witnesses didn’t think the bus was speeding, police were also looking into why the bus driver had to stop short. Officials will also look into whether or not all safety standards were being followed prior to the injury. The injured bus passenger was taken to the hospital for evaluation in the emergency room. You can find out more here.

Illustrative photo credit: Chris Sampson [License]

Multiple victims in Long Island carbon monoxide poisoning incident

New York – A restaurant in a Long Island, NY shopping mall was the scene of a deadly carbon monoxide poisoning incident three days ago. Hospital officials confirmed that the manager of the restaurant was killed by the gas leak that had filled the basement of the business. Investigators report that the cause of the accidental poisoning was from a leaking flue pipe from the building’s water heater. Unfortunately, the hazardous condition was not discovered until the victim was found unconscious in the basement and more than two dozen other became sick during the incident. Citizens who were eating there, workers and emergency responders were amongst the sick victims that required hospitalization following their exposure to the chemical gas. Emergency department staff successfully treated most of the ill patients but were unable to revive the unconscious worker, who died in the hospital. Emergency room experts explain that carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless but can be detected with a relatively inexpensive detector that can be purchased in most hardware stores. However, current construction, building and fire codes do not require these devices in a location where people don’t sleep. This has some public safety advocates distressed at the lack of safety in this regard. They contend that a simple and inexpensive piece of equipment could have easily warned potential victims of the danger. Despite this, businesses are required to properly maintain all equipment in their building in order to prevent dangerous situations such as this. A report shows that the restaurant was issued a ticket with possible fine for faulty equipment. Maintenance specialists say that this could have occurred due to improper maintenance of equipment in the building. Read more about the hazardous condition that led to the death of the worker in this article.

Illustrative photo by Mondberg (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons