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Railroad Worker Injuries and the Protection Provided by FELA

Trains once served as a major means of transportation to thousands of Americans; these also caused a major impact on the country’s economic growth by carrying tons of cargo and goods from one state to another in a fast and efficient manner.

The use of trains, to transport cargo and people, saw a remarkable increase between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The positive effect of this occurrence to economic growth, though, was slowed down by the unexpected increase in the number of job-related accidents involving railroad workers.

Today, federal and state laws exist to ensure the safety and health of railroad workers. These same laws mandate and make it imperative for employers to makes sure that all railroad employees are safe whenever in the workplace by:

  • Giving them proper training about their job
  • Making sure that all equipment and tools needed to perform job are properly maintained and in good working condition
  • Providing sufficient lighting in work areas
  • Putting in enough man-power to accomplish necessary work
  • Ensuring that working areas are always maintained and cleaned
  • Providing proper supervision in the workplace
  • Making sure that all walkways are safe from hazards
  • Ensuring that all of the train’s brakes (whether manual or hand brakes) are without defect and in good working condition (including air reservoirs, connecting pipes, and air hoses)
  • Keeping all parts of the locomotive always safe for use and working properly

In cases of injuries, though, workers should know that they are protected by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act or FELA, which gives them the right to file a claims lawsuit against his/her employer for financial damages, lost wages, medical expenses, and/or disability (partial or permanent). But for a FELA claim to be valid, the injured employee has to prove that he/she was: injured during the performance of work; the work area was not safe, and that the equipment and/or tools available for use were faulty or defective; and, that accident was clearly a result of an unsafe working area or working condition.

Through FELA, an injured worker can be awarded the compensation that he/she deserves. But he/she has to have a strong and competent representation from a highly-qualified lawyer who practices personal injury in San Diego for a greater chance of netting the compensation that he/she deserves and needs. Lawyers are taught how to file these claims and see them through to their completion.

Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?

Recent incidents have shown pit bulls tendencies to attack and severely injure people – including children and infants – which have led to many people rallying to ban the pit bull breed. Although there are statistics that can support such claims, there is more to pit bulls than their aggressiveness and violence.

Pit bulls are a strong breed of dogs with a compact muscular body and very strong jaw strength. These traits are sought because initially, pit bulls were bred for bull baiting and dog fighting (both of which has been banned). It is because of these dog breed’s aggressiveness and physical power that a bite from a pit bull can be catastrophic. Pit bull mauling can include bone fractures, deep cuts, lacerations, infections, and possible amputations. Severe scarring and emotional trauma can also be experienced by the victims, and fatalities have also been a strong issue with pit bulls.

Despite the number of people and organizations lobbying to ban pit bulls (along with dog breeds branded as vicious), places like Carson City, Nevada has passed a law against declaring a dog dangerous based on their breeds alone. Under the new protection law AB110, local government is also banned from endorsing ordinances that outlaw specific dog types.

One thing people can help in easing up the dangers of pit bulls is through proper awareness of the breed and training the dog to avoid it from being aggressive. Every dog has a tendency to bite; the owner therefore should know the responsibilities that come with owning and taking care of a pit bull.

American Airline – US Airways Merger Proposal under Federal Review

A recent merger proposal between American Airlines and US Airways has prompted an inquiry by the US Government Accountability Office. The airlines claim that because of several other high-profile airline mergers that have gone through in the last five years, this deal will level the playing field and raise competition between the flight giants that have been formed. The merger also intends to financially strengthen the airline industry overall.

However, many critics are concerned the merger will have the opposite effect by significantly decreasing competition, resulting in higher prices. The GAO study, Issues Raised by the Proposed Merger of American Airlines and US Airways, notes that even though the merging airlines “overlap on only 12 nonstop routes, no other nonstop competitors exist on 7 of those 12.” Whether or not this kind of reduction in industry competition outweighs the estimated $1.4 billion increase in net gain for the company remains to be decided.

Critics are also concerned that while US Airways is committed to serving smaller communities, the merger will force the company to drop a percentage of their service slots at airports and decrease the availability of flights to those communities.

The merger proposal must also undergo an antitrust review conducted by the Department of Justice before it can be approved. The airlines’ legal teams must be incredibly busy working on this.

This is some big-time business stuff. While most people will never be a part of such a huge business deal, even small businesses can benefit from the knowledge of a business lawyer.

North Carolina Senate Reviews Domestic Violence Monitoring Bill

ritter and associatesThe North Carolina Senate is currently reviewing a bill with provisions to track domestic violence suspects using ankle bracelets that would alert authorities if the person came within a given distance of the victim’s residence or office.

However, because the bill pertains to those who have not yet been convicted of domestic violence, but have been served a protective domestic violence order, reviewers have questioned if monitoring before conviction could be qualified as illegal search and seizure. Senator Warren Daniel has also raised the question of effectiveness in situations where a monitored person is really dedicated to murdering the victim, although this is a rarer, extreme case of escalation in domestic violence.

The bill also suggests that the cost of constant surveillance on a person could be offset by fining the monitored person, from several hundred up to thousands of dollars, depending on what it would really end up costing.

Many committee members have agreed that while the main idea is worthwhile, these issues within the bill need to be studied and amended before the bill can travel any further in legislation.

It is likely that the bill will undergo revisions and be put up for review again at the North Carolina Senate’s 2014 session.

New Campaign by OSHA Promotes Fall Prevention

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration are responsible for regulating workplace conditions and protecting workers’ rights. Construction injuries are a special concern of OSHA, as construction is widely considered one of the most dangerous professions in the nation. In 2010, OSHA cited 774 fatalities in construction, over a third of which were caused by falls. The administration has created a Fall Prevention Campaign in order to answer this unfortunate statistic.

The Fall Prevention Campaign strives to educate construction workers on how to save lives through improved safety practices, in three basic steps. These points focus on planning ahead, providing correct equipment, and training workers to effectively use the safety equipment.

  1. Planning ahead – Have the details of a project hammered out before beginning. For example, know what needs to be done and how, as well as what safety gear the job requires
  2. Providing correct equipment – Make sure all the right tools are available for workers, including protective gear
  3. Training workers – Employers are responsible for teaching their employees how and when to correctly use the provided equipment in order to avoid accidents

The campaign resources include a website, training tools to help employers, worksite posters, and wallet-sized cards for workers to carry. Most of these are also available in Spanish.

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