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New Haven Personal Injury Law Blog

Work safety plans should include electrical mishaps

Connecticut workers may want to be aware that electrical accidents are among the top sources of job-related deaths in the U.S. workplace. With 4,000 injuries and 300 fatalities each year, it is worth acknowledging that most of these deaths and injuries are preventable.

With the number of incidents each year and the growing number of electrical devices in the modern work area, employers may want to consider actions that will reduce the injuries and deaths. One thing to do is to have a safety plan in place and have recognized expert employees who can educate and alert others to safety concerns on staff. They can also update the safety plan when new pieces of electrical equipment are introduced to the work location.

Woman injured by dog that escaped from owner's home

A 93-year-old Connecticut woman was attacked by a mixed-breed pit bull while she was walking in her neighborhood on April 13, according to police. The woman suffered massive trauma to her lower left leg that required surgery.

The dog reportedly ran out of its owner's house and attacked the woman, and neighbors wielding a baseball bat and the woman's cane tried to fight the dog off. One of the people who came to the woman's aid said that the dog seemed to be chasing a fire truck before it attacked her. He also suggested that the animal might have killed her if no one had been there to help. By the time police officers arrived at the scene, the dog's owner had taken control of the animal and put it in a cage.

Electrical hazards are common cause of workplace accidents

According to a report, electrical accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities in the United States. Industry studies have stated that electrical accidents cause about 4,000 injuries and 300 deaths each year in the workplace. However, many of these injuries could be avoided with proper precautionary practices and safety education. There are a number of steps Connecticut businesses can take to reduce the risk of work related injury caused by electrical hazards.

An electrical incident can lead to electrical shocks and burns. Even the smallest electrical shock may be enough to cause injury or death if the shock causes the person to drop a piece of equipment or fall. In an industrial facility that has toxins and combustibles, a small electrical spark can lead to fire or explosion.

Workers injured in gas plant explosion

Connecticut residents may have heard about a recent explosion at a natural gas plant on the other side of the country that made national news. Conflicting reports say four or five people suffered injuries in the incident, and 400 people were evacuated from the area near the Washington-Oregon border on March 31. A huge cloud of black smoke could be seen from more than a mile away, according to one witness.

The blast at the facility, located outside the town of Plymouth, Washington, caused a fire, and a giant storage tank that held natural gas was punctured. However, the over-sized tank did not explode. Instead, a small amount of gas leaked out and then dissipated, according to the Benton County Sheriff.

Foot problems can cause workplace hazards

Foot protection can play a crucial role in Connecticut workers' safety. Worn, badly manufactured or poorly fitting footwear can create occupational hazards.

Among the problems ill-fitting footwear can cause are falls, accidents and biohazards. In one case, a safety manager discovered that the reason a particular employee had a history of falling was because one of the employee's legs was one-quarter inch shorter than the other. By using gel and other foot supports, that manager was able to help correct the problem.

Owner responsibility stressed by Connecticut court

A recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court confirmed that an owner of an animal has the responsibility to take reasonable precautions to avoid foreseeable injury to others. This decision affirms an appellate court's ruling regarding a case involving an animal bite that was suffered by a child.

In 2006, a family visited a farm where they purchased plants from the greenhouse. The father took his minor child to a paddock area to look at one of the horses and began to pet the horse with the minor observing. According to court records, the horse, without provocation, bent his head down and bit the minor on the face. His right cheek was significantly injured by the bite and required surgery. It also resulted in a permanent scar on the minor's cheek.

Pet owners to be held responsible for animals' actions

On March 26, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that animal owners could be liable for injuries inflicted by their pets even if owners lacked a reason to suspect that those pets were extraordinarily dangerous. The ruling resulted from a 2006 incident during which a two-year-old child was injured when he and his father stopped nearby a paddock fence. After the father reached through the fence to pet the horse, the horse lowered its head and bit the child's cheek.

The child's family sued for damages based on the fact that the child is likely to have a permanent scar from the incident. The horse's owners argued that they were not liable for the incident because they had not allowed their horse to roam about, and neither had the horse ever shown a tendency toward aggressive behavior before. A superior court agreed with this reasoning and sided with the defendants, but an appellate court overturned its decision.

Victim of pet attack wants to sue Connecticut

A 60-year-old woman spoke before the Connecticut State Capitol to seek permission to file a lawsuit for $150 million after her hands and face were torn off by a pet chimpanzee in 2009. She has received numerous operations, including a face transplant and a failed double-hand transplant, and came to speak with her head wrapped up as she continues the healing process. She claims that the state failed to protect her, and her lawyers elaborated that the animal was kept illegally and had previously been determined to be a threat to public safety. The animal attack happened at the home of her employer, also a personal friend. When authorities responded, they killed the animal. Although the chimp owner died in 2010, the woman also agreed to a settlement against her friend's estate for $4 million in 2012.

The state currently is completely immune from lawsuits, but she wants that decision overturned so that she can pay her medical expenses and live her life. According to her testimony, she wants to ensure that no one else suffers the way she has. Since she is blind and suffers from other physical problems, she is now resides in an assisted living facility where others care for many of her needs.

After the switch to daylight saving time, workplace injuries rise

Connecticut readers might be surprised to learn that on the Sunday night after the daylight saving time switch, Americans lose 40 minutes of sleep on average. The lack of sleep may have serious implications for workplace safety. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that work-related accidents for coal miners rose by 5.7 percent on the Monday following the time switch. The study looked at mining injuries that took place between 1983 and 2006. In total, the study reviewed 576,292 mining injuries.

On a typical Monday, an average of around 63 workplace injuries were reported by coal miners. However, on the Monday after the start of daylight saving time, the number rose to just more than 66 injuries. In addition, researchers discovered that the severity of injuries increased. The number of days missed on account of an injuries suffered on the Monday following daylight saving time increased by 67.6 percent.

Railroad worker dies after being struck by train

Connecticut railroad workers may be shocked to learn that a 58-year-old man was struck by a train in New York. The accident, which occurred on March 10 shortly before 1 a.m., took place after safety measures had reportedly been implemented to avoid these types of accidents.

The train reportedly managed to strike the man just minutes after leaving the Grand Central Terminal at 12:47 a.m., though it was not known how. Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are reportedly launching an investigation into the incident.

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