Family Member a Victim of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse? Bush Administration Rule Makes It Harder to Get the Information

With little notice and without a public comment period, a Bush administration change in federal rules on nursing home inspections will have the practical effect of forcing litigants to go to greater lengths, including seeking court orders, to get inspection reports or depositions for cases they are pursuing or defending.

The new rule generally prohibits state health departments and contractors from participating in private lawsuits involving facilities that are in the federal assistance program. The rule accomplishes this by reclassifying state employees who inspect nursing homes for the federal government as federal employees who are not allowed to provide “privileged” … Read the rest

Court Rebuffs Attempt to Dilute New Childrens Products Safety Law

Last year was a record-setter when it came to recalls and warnings about dangerous children’s toys, especially lead paint laden toys imported from China. In response to the much-publicized controversy, Congress strengthened the Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 (CPSA) to prohibit the sale and distribution of children’s toy or child care articles containing excessive levels of toxic substances beginning on February 10th, 2009.

Almost incredibly, the agency charged with enforcing the CPSA, the General Counsel of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (the Commission), actually tried to weaken the enforcement of the law by issuing an … Read the rest

CPSC Releases Its Toy Safety Tips For Holiday Shopping

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has its list for the holidays, that is its annual holiday safety messages. Parents and gift buyers are encouraged to check it twice.  Released on November 12, 2008, CPSC, joined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Safe Kids Worldwide, reminded parents to be diligent when making holiday shopping choices.

For 2007, the Commission has reports of 18 toy-related deaths and CPSC staff estimates that there were about 170,100 hospital emergency-room treated toy-related injuries to children under 15. Most of the deaths were associated with airway obstruction from small toys, drowning, or … Read the rest

Recalls of Children’s Toys for Lead Paint Issues Fly Under the Radar In This Last Holiday Shopping Season Before Tough New Safety Standards for Toys Take Effect

Although the publicity was much greater last year, 45 children’s toys have been recalled due to lead paint issues so far this year. The toys include Casper the Friendly Ghost Halloween Figurines, xylophones, jewelry and classroom reading and math aids. But overall, toy recalls are down 46 percent from last year, it was announced at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s annual toy safety news conference this past week on November 12.

According to the CPSC, toy recalls had dropped to 74 in 2008 from 138 in 2007. Toy recalls in 2007 included children’s toys containing lead paint, … Read the rest

Yo-Yo Waterball, Bearing Risk Of Strangulation, Target of Legislation in New York; Childrens Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act of 2008 Also Signed Into Law

New York Governor David A. Paterson signed into law a bill prohibiting the importation, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of dangerous yo-yo waterball toys, and providing for enforcement by the attorney general. The New York State Consumer Protection Board has issued two warnings calling yo-yo waterballs a serious hazard to children. The second warning was issued after a five-year-old girl from the Rochester area was nearly strangled by the toy’s long elastic cord.

Similar to other choking incidents involving yo-yo waterballs, the elastic cord became wrapped around the child`s neck after she had been twirling it above her head. The … Read the rest

Injury Estimates for the Top 25 Product Groupings in 2007 from the Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) provides the agency and other federal agencies with critically important incident and injury information. More than 34 million consumer product-related injuries were medically treated annually from 2004 through 2006. Of these injuries, it is estimated that more than 13 million sought treatment at U.S. emergency departments.

Below are statistics from the 2007 NEISS Data Highlights showing Product Grouping/Estimated Number of Injuries:
1. Stairs, Ramps, Landings, Floors 2,324,938
2. Beds, Mattresses, Pillows 560,129
3. Bicycles & Accessories 515,871
4. Basketball 481,011
5. Chairs, Sofas, Sofa Beds 476,109
6. Football 455,193… 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

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

Governor Paterson Busy Protecting Citizens from Harmful Doctors, Drugs, Toys and Sexual Predators – Part 2

Part 2 of this topic discusses new legislation regarding dangerous drugsdefective toys and sexual predators using the internet to prowl and prey. The information herein is set forth in press releases issued by the governor’s office. Proposed legislation designed to protect patients from medical malpractice was discussed in Part 1 of this blog. Governor David A. Paterson has proposed legislation to limit the influence of pharmaceutical manufacturers over prescription decisions by banning gifts and payments from drug companies to physicians and other prescribers in excess of $50 per year; these actions are to be monitored by pharmacy benefit … Read the rest

Will Congress Pass First Major Consumer Product Legislation in 18 Years?

Recent U.S. Senate approval, by a vote of 79 to 13, of a measure to overhaul the country’s consumer product laws and strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission that oversees the marketplace, moved Congress closer to passing the first major legislation in 18 years regulating dangerous products.

However, the Senate bill bears many more teeth than the version the House unanimously passed in December, 2007. While on one hand some consumer advocates consider the House version to be a sop to industry, on the other hand the House bill is endorsed by the White House and by major manufacturers, and … Read the rest