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OSHA details inspection priorities for 2014

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (62781)

By Emily Clark, Safety Editor

On February 26, Occupational Safety and Health Administration also known as OSHA released its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting Program (SST). Will your establishment be the target of one of these inspections? Keep reading to find out.


For a Limited Time receive a FREE Safety Special Report on the "50 Tips For More-Effective Safety Training."  Receive 75 pages of useful safety information broken down into three training sections. Download NowIntended to focus enforcement resources on high-hazard industries, the SST plan targets high-hazard, non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers and is based on data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments in high-hazard industries.

Nursing and personal care facilities are excluded from the 2014 SST plan because they are currently the target of a National Emphasis Program, which includes a separate programmed inspection plan.

So where will OSHA focus its resources this year? First, area offices will inspect facilities on the Primary Inspection List, which includes establishments that meet one or more of the following criteria:

Manufacturing establishments with a Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rate at or above 7.0;Manufacturing establishments with a Days Away from Work Injury and Illness (DAFWII) case rate at or above 5.0;Non-manufacturing establishments with a DART rate at or above 15.0; orNon-manufacturing establishments with a DAFWII case rate at or above 14.0.If an area office completes all inspections on the Primary Inspection List, it can proceed to the Secondary Inspection List, which includes establishments meeting one or more of the following criteria:

Manufacturing establishments with DART rates of 5.0 or higher;Manufacturing establishments with DAFWII case rates of 4.0 or higher;Non-manufacturing establishments with DART rates of 7.0 or higher; orNon-manufacturing establishments with DAFWII case rates of 5.0 or higher.Finally, if all inspections on the Secondary Inspection List are completed, the area office can obtain a regional list of additional establishments to inspect. None of these establishments will have a DART rate of 3.6 or lower or a DAFWII case rate of 2.2 or lower.

Inspections conducted under the most recent SST plan will be comprehensive safety inspections. Health inspections will be limited to referrals from Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) or inspections expanded by the Area Director based on an employer’s prior inspection history.

In states such as California and Washington that administer their own occupational safety and health agencies, state officials can choose whether to follow federal OSHA’s SST plan, use a high-hazard inspection targeting system based OSHA’s Scheduling System for Programmed Inspections, or use a state-developed high-hazard inspection targeting system based on state data.


Safety group: Traffic deaths up 3 percent, costing you$730 a year

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (3663)

Citing a rise intraffic deaths in 2012, a watchdog group urged states this week to strengthenlaws that protect drivers and their passengers.

Advocates for Highway and AutoSafety (AHAS), which has prodded federal and state lawmakers to make roads lessdangerous since 1989, said 33,561 people died on highways in 2012. That's a 3.3percent jump over 2011. The 2012 statistic is the most recent available andgathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) andthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among other governmentagencies.

To reverse that, more states need toadopt tougher statutes in several areas, including restricting texting oncellphones and requiring the use of seat belts and motorcycle helmets for allriders, AHAS President Jacqueline S. Gillan said during a press conference.

"After six consecutive years ofdeclining fatalities on our nation's roads, traffic deaths increased in2012," she said. "This alarming shift is a stark reminder that statesmust continue to pass and enforce strong, comprehensive highway safetylaws."

AHAS noted that there are economicconsequences as well. About 5.5 million crashes occur each year, resulting in anaverage of 33,000 deaths and 2.3 million injuries. That costs the nation about $230 billion in medicalservices, lost productivity, health and auto insurance, emergency services andother associated expenses, according to AHAS.

"For every person, every year,this adds up to a 'crash tax' of $730," said Georges C. Benjamin,executive director for the American Public Health Association.

AHAS, which is based in Washington,D.C., detailed the findings in "2014 Roadmap of State Highway SafetyLaws," its annual report grading states on motoring safety. The study gavepoor marks to several states for lagging behind others in implementing a groupof 15 rigorous statutes controlling everything from distracted and drunken driving(including ignition locking devices for all offenders) to the use of seat beltsand child booster seats.

The study made severalrecommendations, including:

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia need one or more laws -- including ignition locking devices -- designed to prevent driving while intoxicated.Fifteen states need stricter texting controls.Thirty-one states need an all-rider motorcycle helmet law.Seventeen states should have stricter seat belt laws.Nineteen states should have a child booster seat law.All states need more laws related to graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs for teens.In evaluating overall highwaysafety, these states received a "red" grade, the lowest:

AlabamaArizonaFloridaIowaMississippiMontanaNebraskaNew HampshireNorth DakotaSouth DakotaWyomingThe states given a "green"grade for having safer roads than most include:

CaliforniaColorado District of ColumbiaHawaiiIllinoisIndianaLouisianaMaineOregonRhode IslandWashingtonThe other 29 states received a"yellow" rating, which AHAS said indicates "moderately positiveperformance but with numerous gaps still in their highway safety laws."

The report did applaud WestVirginia, Hawaii, Maryland, Utah, Texas, Virginia, Maine and Tennessee foradopting laws in 2013. They include requiring all motorcycle riders to wearhelmets; mandatory seat belt use for drivers and passengers; and morecomprehensive GDLs.

An array of sobering numbers

To support its case, AHAS presentedvarious 2012 traffic statistics -- many involving younger victims -- gatheredfrom government sources:

Crashes involving teen drivers resulted in 4,640 deaths.1,168 children 14 or younger died in vehicle accidents.291 children ages 4 through 7 perished in crashes.52percent of passengers who died weren't wearing safety belts.4,957 motorcyclists died in 2012, an increase from the previous year. This is 15 percent of all highway fatalities. 



Illinois Auto Insurance Minimums

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (3424)

Illinois requires licensed drivers to have vehicle liability insurance.

The minimums you must have are: 

  • $20,000 - injury or death of one person in an accident.
  • $40,000 - injury or death of more than one person in an accident.
  • $15,000 - damage to property of another person.

You are not required to carry collision, comprehensive, medical payment or uninsured property damage coverage. However, it is a good idea to have these coverage’s.

Also, the minimum requirements may not protect you adequately. Many cars are worth more than $15,000 and medical bills from an accident can easily exceed $20,000.

If you are financing your automobile, your lender may require that you carry physical damage insurance to protect its interest in your financed vehicle.

Determining Insurance Costs

Insurance companies in Illinois use a number of factors to determine premium costs. They include:

  • Your age, gender and marital status. That's because statistics show certain groups of drivers (for example, young unmarried males) have more accidents.
  • The coverage limits you choose. The more insurance you buy, the higher your premium.
  • Your driving record. If you have a record of accidents and tickets, you likely will pay higher premiums.
  • Where you live. City drivers pay higher premiums than rural drivers because more vehicles are on the road and areas are more congested.
  • How you use your vehicle. You may pay more if you commute long distances or drive long distances each year.
  • Your credit history. Insurance companies may consider your credit card history, amount of credit, how timely you pay your bills, etc. when determining your rates.


Federal Safety Agency Says 22 Million Vehicles Were Recalled in 2013

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (2490)

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is out with its list of the top 10 recalled vehicles in 2013 and Toyota has topped the list for the second year in a row. According to a news report in The New York Times, cars and trucks from Toyota and its Lexus brand were among the almost 22 million vehicles recalled last year in 632 actions. In 2012, 16.4 million vehicles were recalled in 581 actions. The recall numbers in 2013 are the highest since 2004, when recalled vehicles hit 30.8 million.

Top10 Carmakers Who Recalled Vehicles

Toyota’s recalls included about 1.6million vehicles involved in two recalls for airbags that could deploy suddenly. In one case electronic interference was blamed and in another, spiderwebs blocking drain holes. Second on the list was Chrysler with 4.7 million vehicles recalled in 36 actions.

The bulk of Chrysler’s recalls included about 1.6 million 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models. The vehicles were recalled for fire hazards in rear impact collisions. Honda and Acura came in third with 15 recalls and 2.8 million vehicles followed by Hyundai, Ford, Kia, Nissan, BMW, General Motors and Suzuki.

In addition to vehicles, in 2013,more than 36,000 child restraints, which included child safety seats, were recalled in two actions. Also, about 1.4 million tires were recalled in 11 actions in 2013 compared with 1.1 million in 2012 when there were 18 actions.The record for tire recalls was in 1978 when about 14.7 million were recalled.


Why Recalls are Crucial

Vehicle safety recalls are conducted because they involve defects in autos that pose a safety threat to consumers.This is precisely why it is important that automakers promptly report any type of consumer complaints they get with regard to safety issues or any type ofincident or crash that occurs as the result of a vehicle defect. When automakers fail to do so, we continue to have defective vehicles on the roadway, putting consumers at further risk of injury and harm.

We often see that automakers delay action or use stalling tactics when it comes to safety recalls because it is anexpensive proposition for them. Most recalls cost millions of dollars for automakers and of course, it costs them a lot more in terms of damage to brand and image. But, it is the duty and responsibility of automakers to ensure that defective vehicles and parts are recalled in a timely manner and that unsuspecting consumers are not put in harm’s way.


5 misunderstood auto insurance policy terms

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (2179)

Deciding which types of autoinsurance coverage to purchase and how much coverage you need is sometimesdriven by state insurance requirements or by your lender. While it may behelpful to know what mandated car insurance coverage you need to buy, you maystill be mystified by some of the coverage you're purchasing.

To help, we explain five commonly misunderstood auto insurance policy terms.

1.Comprehensive. The word "comprehensive"means inclusive of a broad range of items. In auto insurance, the word actually refers to coverage limited to your vehicle.

"Some companies call comprehensive coverage 'other than collision,' because essentially this covers damage to your car from most things other than a collision with another car," says Jann Samarzja, product design senior specialist with American Family Insurance in Madison, Wis. "Comprehensive coverage does not cover damage to another car or other property and doesn't cover any personal injury."

This coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it's stolen, vandalized, damaged by fire, hail or a flood or if a bird damages your windshield.

"Most states don't require comprehensive coverage, but often a lender will require it in case they need to repossess your car and need to have it repaired," says Samarzja.

2.Bodily injury liability insurance. Samarzja says that most states require this coverage because it protects an innocent third party if you cause an accident.

"Bodily injury liability insurance kicks in if you're at fault in an accident and pays for the injuriesof someone you hurt," says Samarzja.

This coverage does not pay for your own injuries or for your passengers' injuries even if you are at fault. Your injuries can be covered by optional medical payments insurance oryour own health insurance. Your passengers' injuries would be covered by their own health insurance.

3.Property damage liability insurance. Most states require this coverage because it pays for damage to another vehicle ot o other property caused by your car.

"Property damage liability insurance pays for damages you cause by hitting another car or by hitting something like a mailbox, a light pole or even a store front".

This coverage only pays for damages to another person's property caused by you. To protect your car, you need collision coverage.

4.Personal injuryprotection (PIP). Twelve states (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah) and Puerto Rico have no-fault insurance laws that require drivers to make medical claims with their own insurance company regardless of who is at fault in an accident. While regulations vary by state, drivers who live in a no-fault state are required to purchase PIP coverage. (See: "What is no-fault insurance and whichstates have it?")

Typically, in addition to medical expenses, PIP covers funeral expenses, lost wages and what is sometimes called "loss of essential services," which includes benefits if you need help doing household tasks due to injury.

"Generally, PIP pays for medical coverage for you and passengers in your vehicle along with things like loss of wages while injured," says Samarzja. "Sometimes it even pays for someone to clean your house while you are recovering. The details of PIP are complex, because it varies a lot by state."

Your PIP coverage limits set the maximum amount that will be paid per person for any combination of covered expenses. Some states allow you to choose your PIP limits and others set it to a certain amount, for instance at $10,000. In some cases, you may choose to buy additional PIP coverage.

PIP covers injuries only, not damage to cars or other property.

In states without no-fault laws, Samarzja says, medical bills are covered by health insurance policies or an optional medical expense reimbursement endorsement to your car insurance policy.

5.Deductibles. A deductible is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket for each car insurance claim before your insurance company pays the claim.

You can choose from a wide range of deductibles from $0 to $1,000 for your auto insurance. Usually those deductibles are available in increments of $100 to $250.

"The higher the deductible, the lower your premium. Usually an insurance agent can recommend a deduction based on your individual circumstances.

For example, if you drive an older car, you may want a high deductible because you are less likely to repair every ding or dent.

Your decision on your insurance deductible should be based on your personal finances and your ability to pay that deductible if you must make a claim.

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Intersection Car Accidents

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (2628)

More than 35 percent of all motorvehicle accidents occur at intersections, according to the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, the NHTSA reports that: 

While only about 3 percent of intersection car accidents are primarily caused by poor weather conditions and/or vehicle equipment failures, more than 96 percent can primarily be attributed to some type of human negligence or error.The most common type of human negligence that contributes to intersection car accidents is a lack of proper surveillance of the vehicle’s surroundings; specifically, this factor reportedly plays a role in causing more than 44 percent of all intersection car accidents.

Some of other prominent examples of human error that commonly contribute to intersection car accidents include false assumptions of other drivers’ actions, obstructed views of an intersection or oncoming traffic, illegal maneuvers and driver distraction caused by objects within the vehicle.While male drivers of any age are the most likely to make illegal maneuvers that cause intersection car accidents, drivers of either gender who are older than 55 years old are most likely to misjudge other drivers’ actions and/or the timing of making certain maneuvers (like left-hand turns) at intersections.

Drivers who are 24 years old and younger are most commonly involved in intersection car accidents that also involve distracted driving (with the use of cell phones while driving being a specific problem) and/or aggressive driving.When negligence and/or human errorplays a role in causing intersection car accidents – even if the role is small,accident victims can be compensated for their medical bills, lost wages,property damage and other losses by pursing a car accident lawsuit.

For a free consultation call Lidov & Block Personal Injury Attorneys at (312)782-2108.