New federal safety standards for cribs, play yards, bassinets and cradles show a laudable concern for infants and the danger well-meaning but unsuspecting parents place their children in. Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs made and sold after that date must meet new standards which prohibit traditional drop-side cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware, and require more rigorous testing from entering the marketplace. Beginning December 28, 2012, cribs provided by child care facilities, family child care homes, hotels, motels and other places of public accommodation must meet the requirements of the new standards. Failure to do so could render the facility negligent per se.
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Personal Injury Attorneys - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and the Bronx
Every day, 352 children ages 19 and under are injured as a result of a fire or burn-related cause. Among children under 5 years of age, scalds or contact burns are responsible for 90 percent of burn injuries. One of the focus areas of the American Burn Association’s Burn Awareness Week (February 3-9, 2013) is preventing scald burn injuries – a burn from hot liquid or steam. The maximum recommended residential water temperature is 120ËšF (48ËšC). Children have thinner skin than adults which can result in a more severe burn. The most common places children experience scalds are in the kitchen or dining rooms and in the bathrooms.
Deadline to Contribute to OSHA Construction Standards and to Workplace Safety and Health Hazards Approaches
Last month the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Request for Information to initiate the fourth phase of its Standards Improvement Project (SIP). The purpose of SIP-IV is to improve and streamline existing OSHA construction standards by removing or revising requirements that are confusing or outdated, or that duplicate, or are inconsistent with, other standards. The submission deadline is February 4, 2013. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the winners of its Worker Safety and Health App Challenge, which awards prizes totaling $30,000 to four entrants who submitted tools that best demonstrate the importance of recognizing and preventing workplace safety and health hazards, and help young people understand their rights in the workplace. The prizes awarded are the Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award,the Safety and Health Data Award, the Workers' Rights Award and the People's Choice Award.
In Cuentas v. Sephora USA, Inc., the defendants asserted that the plaintiff was negligent because he was on top of the ladder he was using. The plaintiff testified that the ladder he was using was both unsteady as he was ascending it and too short to enable him to reach the window he was cleaning. The Appellate Division held that plaintiff’s testimony establishes prima facie that defendants failed to provide him with an adequate safety device under Labor Law § 240(1) and that their failure proximately caused his injuries. The key language in the court’s decision is: “the single decisive question is whether plaintiff's injuries were the direct consequence of a failure to provide adequate protection against a risk arising from a physically significant elevation differential”. Because plaintiff established that no adequate safety device was provided, the court holds that his own negligence, if any, is of no consequence.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state will work with hospitals this year to improve the quality and safety of care provided to patients at key stages of hospital admission, treatment, and discharge, and more particularly with respect to sepsis. Sepsis is the number one cause of death in U.S. hospitals, striking at least 750,000 people in the country each year, and kills as many Americans annually as heart attacks, and more than AIDS, prostate cancer, and breast cancer combined. Also, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation announced a new pay-for-performance agreement that will reward doctors with up to $59 million in incentive payments over the next three years for meeting the public hospitals system's goals to improve patient care, efficiency, patient satisfaction and align with the new demands of healthcare reform.
Negligent Governmental Inspection of Ferry That Crashed Would Not Be a Basis of Liability in New York
New York’s Court of Appeals recently dismissed claims made against the State of New York arising out of a 2005 accident in which the Ethan Allen, a tour boat on Lake George, capsized and sank. Metz v. State of New York. The Claim alleged that the State was negligent in certifying an unsafe passenger capacity. The court held that claimants had failed to establish the existence of a special duty owed to them by the State, that is the State is not liable for the negligent performance of a governmental function unless there existed a special duty to the injured person, in contrast to a general duty owed to the public. The claims were dismissed even though there appeared to be merit to the allegations of negligence and the claimants were left without any recourse. Thus, at least in New York, any claim that the State is liable for faulty governmental inspection of the Seastreak Wall Street ferry that crashed yesterday would likely be without merit.
Winter weather always brings added risks of injury due to snow and ice. Pedestrians can slip and fall on sidewalks and other places. Vehicles can slide on slick road surfaces. So too does winter’s cold bring additional risks to construction sites and those who work there or pass by. Winter weather can increase the risk of falls at construction sites and of heavy machinery malfunctions causing injury and even death. The New York City Buildings Department has suggested 10 tips on how to properly safeguard a construction site during the winter months. These suggestions include: fire safety precautions,safeguarding pipes, safeguarding a water tank, secure equipment, secure temporary structures, no work in icy conditions, no work in stormy conditions,hoist safety and crane safety.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Files Administrative Complaints Regarding Two Childrenâ€™s Products: High-Powered Magnets and Infant Recliners
Due to reports of injuries and deaths, and concerns for children's safety, this past month the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed Administrative Complaints against the manufacturers of high-powered magnets and infant recliners. The CPSC alleges that Magnicube Magnet Balls and Magnet Cubes contain defects in their design, packaging, warnings and instructions pose a substantial risk of injury to the public. The second complaint alleges that the Nap Nanny Generation One and Two, and Chill model infant recliners contain defects in their design, warnings and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury and death to infants. CPSC has received 80 reports of incidents involving ingestion of high powered magnets, resulting in 79 reports seeking medical intervention. CPSC is aware of five infants who died in infant recliners and has received a total of over 70 additional incident reports of children nearly falling out of the product.
Vehicle-pedestrian accidents injure 60,000 and kill 4,000 people every year in this country. Researchers watching1,102 Seattle pedestrians at 20 high-risk intersections during randomly assigned times found that nearly one in three people crossing the street at high-risk intersections was distracted by use of a mobile device. Only one in four followed the full safety routine of looking both ways, obeying the lights, and crossing at the appropriate point, the study found. Texting was particularly dangerous as texting pedestrians were 3.9 times more likely than undistracted pedestrians to display at least 1 unsafe crossing behavior (disobeying the lights, crossing mid-intersection, or failing to look both ways). People texting also spent more time in the intersection, by 1.87 seconds, or 18%.
Traffic Fatalities and Distraction-Affected Crashes Declined in 2011 But Fatalities of Large Truck Occupants Rose 20 Percent
A new analysis released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that highway deaths fell to 32,367 in 2011, the lowest level since 1949. 2011 also saw the lowest fatality rate ever recorded, with 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2011. Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 2.5 percent in 2011. Fatalities declined by 4.6 percent for occupants of passenger cars and light trucks, including SUVs, minivans and pickups. Fatalities increased among large truck occupants (20 percent), pedalcyclists (8.7 percent), pedestrians (3.0 percent), and motorcycle riders (2.1 percent). The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes rose but the number of people injured in them declined.