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Dusts in Hazardous Workplaces

No matter where you work, you are not entirely safe from accidents, injuries, and illnesses. But it can be argued that some workplaces are more dangerous compared to others, like how manufacturing plants present more risk for lung and skin problems compared to office buildings, due to the increased chance of dust exposure.

Here are just some of the different kinds of hazardous dusts and particulates. The presence of these will depend on the industry, materials used, and techniques practiced:

  • Agriculture and Farming – Those in the agricultural and farming sectors may be exposed to organic dusts, such as those from animal wastes and crops, and other dusts that may result from processes like harvesting, planting, and weeding.
  • Carpentry – Carpenters are particularly vulnerable to wood dusts, especially on carpentry processes such as cutting, sanding, and scraping.
  • Construction – Construction workers may be exposed to asbestos, especially in renovating and demolishing old buildings that have utilized the material. Dusts from cement should also not be overlooked.
  • Manufacturing – Manufacturing plant workers are exposed to a variety of particles, including metal cuttings, oil mists, and welding fumes.
  • Mining and Quarrying – Workers in these industries are at risk of mineral dusts, such as those from coal and silica. They are particularly vulnerable to these dusts during extraction and processing.
  • Textile – Those in textile processing are also vulnerable to dusts, such as those from cotton, leather, and wool.

There are certain solutions to minimize the risk of dust exposure. For instance, RoboVent has ventilation systems that effectively filter dusts in manufacturing plants. Solutions can also be as simple as wearing the appropriate gear to avoid direct exposure and maintaining the premises to avoid dust buildup. The key is for the employer and employee to acknowledge that the risk of dust exposure is real and it needs an immediate solution.

Not giving particular importance to clean air in the workplace may result into a variety of illnesses, depending on the industry. These illnesses often involve internal complications, such as respiratory problems and even cancers.

The Worst Drunk Driving Accidents

The Worst Drunk Driving Accidents

Drinking and driving never go together. If they do, an accident may occur. Driving requires physical and mental functions, but these functions can be impaired because of alcohol. Physically, the driver will have limited coordination between his eyes and hands, which are essential body parts in safe driving. He may lose control of the vehicle, swerve into oncoming traffic, weave through a different lane, or veer off the road.

He will also have trouble in comprehending traffic signals and lights, potentially leading to right-of-way accidents, and in judging the positions and distances of other vehicles and pedestrians, which may result into devastating collisions.

The worst drunk driving accidents occur because of someone else’s fault, like when someone else has been careless, reckless, or negligent. The only positive thing about this is the fact that the victims can get compensation for the damages, such as for the medical bills and other injury-related expenses.

According to the website of Ravid & Associates, P.C., drunk driving accident victims have three avenues to seek compensation for their injuries. These are:

  • Driving under the influence – action against the drunk driver
  • Dram shop – action against the bar or restaurant owner serving alcohol to the intoxicated person
  • Social host liability – action against a private party or individual furnishing alcohol to the intoxicated person

Negligence is a major factor in these avenues. Drunk drivers may lose control and crash into your vehicle. Bars who fail to limit their customer’s alcohol intake may indirectly cause accidents. The same can be said to individuals who recklessly supply alcohol to you.

Even though the law will hear the voices of the victims, it is important for the victims to make the effort of avoiding drunk driving accidents as well. They should limit their drinking, or better, avoid drinking altogether. If you are planning on drinking, do not even consider driving. Use other modes of transportation or designate a driver that will take you home, instead of risking yourself and the others around you.

You don’t want to get involve in drunk driving accidents, where you can sustain serious traumatic injuries if the collisions are forceful enough. On the worst cases, the victims even end up dead.

Common Issues with Overtime

Common Issues with Overtime

You have sacrificed a lot of things for your job. Maybe you have sacrificed too much, such as your health, family and friends, and extra time for recreation. The last thing you want is to not get the fruits of this sacrifice – overtime pay.

There are several reasons why you don’t get the overtime pay you rightfully deserve. Whatever those reasons are, they leave you with more work and stress, less pay, time, and respect.

One of the most common arguments employers bring up to avoid paying for overtime is that the employee claiming overtime pay is salaried. Though it is true that there are employees who are not eligible to overtime pay, such as executives, most employees have the right to be paid when working overtime.

Another employment issue arises when you are ineligible to overtime pay but have suddenly become eligible, maybe because of an elevation in employment status. Your employer may not pay you your rightfully deserved extra pay because you are misclassified. But this is on the management, and recovering unpaid overtime is possible.

Employers will really do everything they can to prevent extra operation costs from overtime pays and maximize productivity. This ensures that they are bringing more money in and less money out. They may try operations and management tricks to get around overtime payments.

These employers may give their workers off-the-clock tasks. They may call for meetings, ask employees to clean safety equipment, or worse, they may even assign paper works to be done at home. Since these tasks can technically be out of working hours, the employers are basically getting free work from their employees. Even simple tasks, such as traveling into job sites with no computed pay, can serve as loopholes that employers can exploit.

There are more blatant techniques to avoid paying for overtime. Employers may require overtime to be approved before they make it official. This becomes a problem when no manager or supervisor is there to approve the overtime, yet the overtime is necessary because of deadlines and productivity issues.

The key to fight unpaid overtime is knowing your rights and being aware of the techniques that employers can do to get work from you without you getting paid, such as those mentioned above.

Basic Steps in Starting a Business

Basic Steps in Starting a Business

You may have a brilliant idea right now that you think will be beneficial for society, such as a product or a service. In fact, it may be so brilliant that you want to put it on business immediately. But starting a business can be very complicated, especially if you do not know anything about the legal matters. Below are the basic steps of starting a business so you can have an idea of the structure of business formation.

Write a business plan

Often, business plans are not the first things that come to mind when it comes to starting a business. Individuals tend to just be too passionate and dive into the product or service. But having a sound business plan can lay the foundations of your company. State your objectives, how you are going to accomplish them, how you are going to manage operations, and how you are going to make everything profitable.

Determine the right business structure

You also must determine the best kind of business structure that will most benefit your company. Is it going to be a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? According to the website of these Cedar Rapids business attorneys, every business structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as in the aspects of taxation, management, and ownership.

Name and register your business

Choose the appropriate name for your company and its products and services. The name should not just be for show, because it should also be related to the essence of your offers and the philosophy behind them. Once you have decided on the name, register it to the appropriate state government, get a tax identification number, and tackle other legal issues like workers’ compensation, insurance, business license, and permits.

Execute your business plan

As a business-oriented person, the legal part may have been boring for you, but now that the legal processes have been accomplished, there are no more obstacles that are preventing your business from going live. If possible, make your business plan more complex, such as adding details about budgets, marketing strategies, sales projections, and anything else that can help you accomplish the objectives you have stated in your simple business plan.

Why You Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement

Why You Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement

When you get married, you always think that the relationship will last a lifetime, but sadly, not all marriages do. Many couples divorce, separating their assets and liabilities. One way to protect your assets, liabilities, and interests is to get a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a document to establish rules for the marriage and procedures for possible future matters. According to the website of the Law Offices of Baden V. Mansfield, prenuptial agreements often address issues such as the division of assets, visitation rights to children, custody of children, and alimony.

It protects your separate properties

Courts and state laws are often the ones who divide the properties of divorcing couples, and there are instances where you may feel like you are getting the short end of the stick. If you get a prenuptial agreement, you can clearly state which properties are non-marital, so you may get a hold of these properties upon divorce.

It ensures that your children from another marriage will get something

If a divorce has been filed and you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, your spouse may get most of the assets, leaving your children from another marriage with nothing. To make sure that these children will get what they rightfully deserve, you may want to state their inheritance in a prenuptial agreement. This is also a good way to secure their future and financial stability.

It protects you from unwarranted debts

Your spouse may have accumulated some debt even before your marriage, and creditors may take your assets and properties if your spouse fails to give the money back. By having a prenuptial agreement, you can avoid unnecessary financial strains such as this, by agreeing on the rule that your partner’s accumulated debt is his or her responsibility.

It reduces conflict

Divorces can be very emotional, especially if the couples involved are separating because of crucial disagreements. If these couples have prenuptial agreements, the legal processes concerning divorce may be significantly easier to accomplish because of the established rules in the documents. This can also save the couples emotionally, as they part ways in peace.

Nursing Home Negligence

When you put your loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to be treated with dignity. But do you know that there are lawyers out there who specialize in nursing home negligence? It just means that nursing home negligence is an issue serious enough for legal professionals to build a career around it.

According to the website of these Georgetown personal injury attorneys, there are legal actions that can be pursued by nursing home negligence victims.

But what exactly is nursing home negligence? A nursing home should have the proper medical facilities to ensure that its patients are receiving adequate medical care. It should also have a competent nursing home staff that will not be abusive or negligent.

Abusive Behaviors
Nursing home abuse may come in many forms, such as physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological. Physical abuse is the incidental use of force toward a patient. If your loved one has unexplained wounds and torn clothing, be wary, as he or she may be experiencing abuse.

It may be overwhelming to believe, but sexual abuse does happen in the nursing home. Patients may sustain injuries in the reproductive, pelvic, and anal areas, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Emotional and psychological abuse focus more on the self-worth of a patient, such as the destruction of his or her self-confidence. But there are also instances where the other forms of abuse result into emotional and psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social withdrawal.

Negligent Behaviors
Nursing home staff can be negligent on its ways, resulting into injuries, complications, and other health problems. Many negligent behaviors involve hygiene, dehydration, and malnutrition. In the aspect of hygiene, nursing home personnel may fail to change the clothes of their patients, brush their teeth, or comb their hair.

In the aspect of dehydration and malnutrition, nursing home personnel may be too negligent or incompetent to track the hydration and nutrition needs of the patient, resulting into skin problems and other health issues.

Saving Your Self from a Possible DWI Conviction

DWI or driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired, which refers to driving while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs (illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs), is a serious crime. In all U.S. states, to specifically address the very old problem of intoxicated driving, the U.S. Congress lowered the national illegal limit for impaired driving to 0.08%; the year was 2000. Prior to this, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit was 0.15% (since 1938).

To further reduce drunk or drugged driving incidences, some authoritative bodies have been empowered to still lower BAC limits, as well as impose more severe penalties on offenders. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), for instance, has mandated a 0.04% BAC limit for commercial vehicle drivers, such as those driving a truck, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has set a zero tolerance level for those below the age of 21.

Many states have also become stricter in enforcing anti-drunk driving laws, setting up of more sobriety check points and becoming more observant of signs of drunk driving. Police officers also have the authority to stop a driver suspected of being impaired and require him/her to undergo some tests, like standing on one leg, walking on a straight line, or submitting to a breathalyzer test.

Professional-grade breathalyzer devices, such as those used by law enforcers for roadside alcohol testing, are acknowledged as highly accurate and sensitive. However, there are important factors that enforcers need to consider when using these devices on suspected drunk drivers:

These breathalyzers require periodic calibration in order to maintain accurate reading; failure to calibrate these regularly can affect BAC analysis.

Breathalyzers can definitely measure alcohol which is present in alcoholic drinks; however, it will also give measurable BAC readings if one consumes food cooked in alcohol, or uses substances that contain small amounts of alcohol, like toothache medicines and mouthwash.

Acetone, which cab be detected in the breath of those on high protein diets and those with diabetes, and other compounds that have a molecular structure similar to alcohol, may result to BAC readings. Besides these, adhesives, plastics, varnish, paint fumes, and cleaning chemicals with rubbing alcohol, can also produce false BAC results.

Impairment, which is the effect of alcohol and the real root of danger for both the impaired driver and all others on the road, is the major reason why drinking and driving is strictly prohibited under federal and state laws. But, while this may be a totally acceptable reason for apprehending and charging offenders, one main issue that has led to so many legal concerns is the overzealousness of some enforcers which has, in a number of instances, resulted to the unreasonable arrest of many individuals.

A driving while intoxicated conviction can be life-altering, often resulting in license suspension, substantial fines, probation, prison time and serious personal and professional consequences that can be exceedingly difficult to overcome. To save your future from getting ruined due to a minor mistake (on your part), it might be essential to seek the services of a highly-competent lawyer for your defense.

The Benefits Offered Under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Law

Divorce, loss of job, reduction in income, a natural calamity, an unexpected health problem that necessitates continuous costly medical treatment, and so forth, are just few of the possible reasons why people suddenly become incapable of paying their mortgage, car loan and other debts. But the more payments missed the higher the amount of their debts become, until these reach an amount that is already quite impossible to still settle.

It is normal for anyone with a huge debt to go through a nerve-racking experience; add to this the hounding and harassment of creditors and/or debt-collectors to force a debtor to pay what he/she owes.

In 2010, an estimated 1.53 million Americans, who owed creditors huge amounts, but were no longer able to pay, filed bankruptcy in various U.S. federal bankruptcy courts. Bankruptcy is a legal procedure which allows a debtor to declare inability to make further payments to settle his/her debts. It has been allowed under the law to save people from overwhelming debts to give them a fresh start in their financial lives.

There are many chapters in the Bankruptcy law, each designed to address the specific and unique financial situation a person is in. One specific chapter is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, also known as Liquidation Bankruptcy. Taking from its name, Chapter 7 requires a debtor to surrender to a court-appointed trustee his/her “non-exempt” assets and properties for liquidation. One task of the trustee is to sell these properties in order to raise the amount needed in paying off aborrower’s creditors. Payment will only be on debts that are non-dischargeable; these include, but are not limited to:

  • Unlisted debts and creditors;
  • Most student loans, unless paying these would cause “undue hardship” to the borrower and/or his or her dependents;
  • Federal, state, and local taxes which are no more than three years old from the time these first became due;
  • Court fees;
  • Government-imposed penalties, fines, and restitution;
  • Child support and alimony or spousal support; and,
  • Debts resulting from wrongful death or personal injury damages if these are consequences of DUI.

Dischargeable debts, on the other hand, include personal loans, credit card loans, medical bills, past utility bills, etc.; the debtor is freed from these debts by the court.

For non-exempt assets and properties, these include:

  • Motor vehicles, jewelry and tools used by the debtor in his or her trade or profession – but only up to a certain value;
  • Reasonably necessary household furnishings and goods, and clothing;
  • Household appliances;
  • Pensions, unemployment compensation, social security benefits and a certain percentage of the borrower’s still unpaid but earned wages; and,
  • Compensation for personal injury.

As explained in the website of the law firm Greenway Law, LLC, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the quickest way for a debtor to gain relief from his/her debts and begin the process of rebuilding his/her credit. A Cincinnati bankruptcy lawyer, likewise, says that Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers the near-total liquidation of all debts that an individual may hold, giving those who pursue this option the ability to start their financial life anew. However, not everyone may qualify for this chapter due to the conditions set in 2005 by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. To understand more about this Chapter, as well as find out if this is the right bankruptcy chapter to file, consulting with a highly-competent bankruptcy lawyer may be a good decision.

Dealing with Auto Liability Insurance Companies through Legal Representation

“Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes”: this is the primary duty of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While some car accidents are due to “unavoidable and unpredictable” occasions, more are results of another motorist’s recklessness or carelessness on the road. In fact, based on different studies and analyses of car crash data (both in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world), more than ninety percent of all car crashes are due to the fault of drivers.

Any defense to disprove this claim necessitates looking in crash data again which will always show that the most common causes of car crashes are drunk-driving, over or under-speeding, reckless driving and driver error, of which use of hand held phones and other forms of devices is the most common form of driver distraction and, thus, the leading cause of car crashes. Due to all these causes, the yearly numbers of those who sustain injuries and those who end up dead, amount to more than two million and more than 30,000 thousand, respectively.

For at fault drivers not to have any excuse in not compensating those who suffer injuries during accidents, every state in the U.S. mandated drivers to carry auto liability insurance. Depending on the state where a driver resides, the type of insurance he/she will need to carry depends on the system of coverage recognized in his/her state.

Auto liability insurance coverage requirement may either be tort insurance coverage or the no-fault insurance coverage. In tort states, the car accident victim can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The amount of compensation that the victim is legally entitled to receive, which usually covers medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, will be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. There are 38 states where this type of insurance coverage is currently mandated.

In no-fault states, which include of Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Utah, the insurance provider pays its own policy holder in the event of an accident, regardless of whose fault the accident is. The payment, called the personal injury protection (PIP), covers lost wages (due to workdays missed), medical bills and property damage. The desire to still pursue additional payment for damages to property can be done in court.

The law firm Ravid and Associates, P.C. understands how valuable insurance benefits can be in covering accident-related expenses; yet, despite property damage and obvious injuries, many car insurance companies find ways to deny applications or delay payments, making a personal injury protection claim an additional burden for so many drivers.

Since dealing with insurance companies is a legal matter, it may be in the best interest of drivers to seek legal representation from highly-competent car accident lawyers who know very well how to deal with these insurance firms.

Regular Exposure to Toxic Substances: Sentencing Workers to Their Early Death

Besides dangerous tools, equipment, and machinery, workers in industrial workplaces are also regularly exposed to another form of danger; toxic substances. The poisonous matter lead to the development of deadly, chronic diseases that keep many workers out of work or which make them them go on early retirement, require continuous medical treatment and which often alter the way these workers will spend the rest of their lives.

In line with its mission to create a safe and healthy working environment, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an off-shoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, passed the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in 1986. The HCS, also known as the “Worker Right-to-Know Legislation,” or the “Right-to-Know Law,” is directed to employers, requiring them to inform all their employees of the hazardous and deadly elements found, stored and used in the workplace and the measures that will protect these employees from the elements’ harmful effects. Aside from this, HCS also requires that:

Employees be given proper training regarding health and safety risks in the workplace, as well as free access to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a document wherein information on the potential hazards of chemical products and how to work safely with these products are contained;

Warning labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) be attached by manufacturers and importers on all toxic products; and,

Labels should clearly specify the hazardous product’s potential effects to health, recommendations on how to store the product safely, instructions on the product’s safe use, emergency first aid instructions, and the manufacturer’s contact number/s in case the customer needs more information about the product.

Toxic substances and chemical hazards affect the lives of more than 13 million workers in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The deadly effects of some of these elements can be sustained through inhalation of their fume. One particular substance that has caused serious lung disease in workers is silica (or crystalline silica), one of earth’s most common minerals and a basic component of granite and sand. Workers who are often exposed to this poisonous substance include foundry workers, miners and sandblasters. Due to regularly exposed to silica they face the danger inhaling its particles which can cause serious lung diseases, like silicosis, pulmonary tuberculosis or lung cancer.

There are three types of silicosis, namely:

  • Simple chronic silicosis. This develops at least 20 years after having been exposed to low amounts of silica particles or dust;
  • Accelerated silicosis. This takes about 5 to 15 years to develop due to exposure to larger amounts of silica particles; and,
  • Acute silicosis. This is the result of exposure to huge amounts of silica. This usually develops after weeks or months of exposure to silica’s toxic dust.

Any Houston personal injury attorney knows that employers are fully aware of two things: the dangers of being exposed to silica and that they allow, even require, some of their workers to be exposed to this toxic substance regularly.

The law firm Ravid & Associates, likewise, points out the dangers that workers face when exposed to toxic substances, saying that besides possibly suffering any type of serious injury (in case of an accident), the dangerous working condition they are exposed to can even result in wrongful death.

Silicosis, specifically, has no cure or treatment, other than bronchodilators, cough suppressants, and, if needed, oxygen. A person who is suffering from this type of lung disease can fall into deep financial problems too due to the high cost of medical treatment. Through the help of a seasoned personal injury lawyer, however, he/she may be able to claim compensation which will, at least, allow him/her to receive the necessary medical treatment that may somehow lessen the hardship he/she is suffering from.