Rise In Construction Fatalities In New York City Prompts Aggressive Action by OSHA

Beginning June 23, 2008, OSHA brought a dozen additional inspectors into New York City to conduct proactive inspections of high-rise construction sites, cranes, and other places, where fatalities and serious accidents have been occurring.

In January through June of this year, 20 employees died in construction-related accidents. Perhaps the most notorious incidents involved the 2 crane collapses, one on March 10 and the other on May 30, in which not only employees were killed, but also non-workers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time were killed or injured, to say nothing about the extensive property damage sustained.… Read the rest

Trends in Pedestrian Fatalities

After hearing about Robert Novak’s accident this past week when his Corvette (with the top down) struck a pedestrian, we thought that it would be interesting to note some of the statistics contained in last month’s National Pedestrian Crash Report released by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The report analyzed trends in pedestrian fatalities and police-reported motor vehicle crashes involving a pedestrian in the United States between 1997 and 2006. Pedestrian fatalities declined slowly between 1997 and 2006.

However, while the probability of a pedestrian crash declined, the probability of a pedestrian fatality … Read the rest

Robert Novak’s Corvette – More Proof of The Importance of Having a Witness When Youre Injured in an Accident

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak was involved in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident yesterday when his black Chevrolet Corvette struck a pedestrian who was crossing a street while crossing with a Walk signal within a crosswalk. Novak did not stop at the scene of accident but continued driving. He claims that he did not realize what happened until he had traveled one block and a bicyclist stopped him to tell him he had struck someone.

Luckily for the injured pedestrian, a bicyclist witnessed the hit-and-run and reportedly said that the pedestrian was splayed across Novaks windshield. The witness described how the … Read the rest

Do You You Know What “Hash Value” Is? New York State Uses It to Combat Child Pornography on the Internet

Every online picture has unique “Hash Values” that, once identified and collected, can be used to digitally match the same image anywhere else it is distributed. It is analogous to a fingerprint.

As part of an undercover investigation, the New York State Attorney General’s office built a library of the Hash Values for images identified as being child pornography, enabling investigators to filter through tens of thousands of online files at a time, speedily identifying which Internet Service Providers were providing access to child pornography images.

This led to five of the world’s largest Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”), AT&T, AOL, … Read the rest

New Federal and State Laws Attempt to Reduce Swimming Pool Drownings

Summer always seems to fill newspapers and news reports with heart wrenching stories of young children drowning in their family’s or a neighbors swimming pool. On Long Island through July 14 of this year there have been six residential swimming pool drownings, including three children younger than 4. Accidental drownings in swimming pools and spas are most commonly caused by falling into an unsupervised pool or by the child being entrapped by a drain/suction outlet.

Both New York State and the federal government have recently passed important swimming pool and spa safety laws, violations of which can be used to … Read the rest

NHTSA Special Crash Investigations: Protecting Children In and Around Cars; Backover and Non-Crash Events

The Special Crash Investigations unit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has, since October 2006, been collecting detailed data on back-over and non-crash events to support the agency’s efforts to mitigate these kinds of incidents.

The types of cases investigated include: Back-over; backing-up light passenger vehicle strikes a person from the rear or approaching from the side; certified advanced-air-bag cases; school bus crashworthiness investigations; rollaway; vehicle slips out of gear and injures a non-occupant; carbon monoxide poisoning; vehicles with adaptive vehicle controls; not-in-transport cases; and other vehicle safety issues as requested by the agency. The focus is on … Read the rest

Federal Laws and Regulations Underutilized to Protect Workers’ Safety at Construction Sites

The weakness of current federal laws dedicated to protecting workers safety has been criticized twice in less than a month on the op-ed page of The New York Times in the aftermath of crane collapses that occurred in Manhattan on March 15 and May 30, 2008. On May 27, 2008, David M. Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, wrote an article pressing for giving the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the primary federal worker-safety law in the United States, more powerful, even criminal, enforcement penalties.

On June 12, 2008, Susan Podziba, a public policy mediator, … Read the rest

Deaths on Dangerous Jericho Turnpike in Suffolk County Prompt Changes in Road Configuration and Speed Limit

The state Department of Transportation yesterday unveiled changes to a stretch of Jericho Turnpike, from Old Willets Path to Meadow Road, in Smithtown where three teenagers were killed last year in a car accident on their lunch break from school. A primary purpose of the changes is to slow drivers down by reconfiguring the roadway and by reducing the speed limit.

Although the posted speed limit is 55 MPH, New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) studies show 50 percent of drivers in the westbound lane drive 60 mph or faster. The speed on the westbound lane will be reduced … Read the rest

Think Hospital Records Dont Lie? Lets Go to the Videotape

According to the medical records of the psychiatric emergency room at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, a patient named Esmin Elizabeth Green, who had been brought to the hospital almost 24 hours earlier but had not yet been seen by a doctor, was sitting quietly in a chair. In fact, she was already dead. The hospital chart also says that she got up to walk to the bathroom when she was actually writhing on the floor. How do we know the truth? Because unlike most instances of medical malpractice, this apparent fiasco is captured on the … Read the rest

Gentlemen Start Your Engines: Faster Golf Carts = More Injuries

Golf carts have become much faster and more powerful – some can reach 25 mph and travel over 40 miles on a single battery charge. Golf carts are now routinely used for transportation purposes at sporting events, hospitals, airports, national parks, college campuses, businesses and military bases. In many gated and retirement communities, golf carts have become the primary means of transportation.

According to a study published in the July 2008 issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, from 1990 until 2006, nearly 150,000 people, as young as 2 months and as old as 96 years, were injured in … Read the rest