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New City Personal Injury Law Blog

Trump administration reduces number of OSHA inspectors

President Trump's decision to shrink the federal workforce and slow its growth has affected OSHA offices in New York and across the U.S. So far under the Trump administration, 40 inspectors have been lost through attrition, with regional offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida being hit the hardest.

Though the organization has hired some two dozen officials to help carry out its work of protecting worker safety and health, vacancies remain. Training each employee takes time, so even if OSHA is allowed to increase its staff, the decision will have an impact for years to come.

Robotic technology may lead to more accurate cancer diagnoses

According to the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, cancer surgeons perform more than 1.7 million breast biopsies every year. The accuracy of the diagnoses has always been hampered by human error and limited technology. However, a robotic biopsy system now under development could change this forever. Surgical pathologists in New York and across the U.S. may want to know how this could enhance their work.

The robot, known as the Stormram 4, is made to fit inside the narrowest MRI bores. In fact, this 3D-printed machine is considered the smallest robot of its kind. Rather than use a thick needle multiple times, the Stormram 4 aims a thin needle at the target coordinate and retrieves a biopsy sample on the first insertion with sub-millimeter precision.

OSHA alliance is renewed

Women in New York who work in the construction industry may be interested to know that the National Association of Women in Construction and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have renewed their alliance. The goal of the alliance is to address workplace hazards that are unique to women in the construction industry. These hazards may include workplace intimidation, personal protective equipment selection, workplace violence and sanitation.

Although women comprise a small section of the construction workforce, their segment of the labor force is growing. An OSHA representative stated that the alliance will continue to push for effective solutions to the health and safety risks women construction workers face.

Six common causes of car accidents

In 2016, more than 40,000 people died in car accidents around the country. Traffic fatalities are on the rise, so New York drivers might be more likely to be involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident than in previous years. Many crashes have a few common causes. For example, drivers drifting out of their lanes causes up to one-third of all motor vehicle accidents.

Between 23 and 30 percent of accidents involve one car rear-ending another. This often happens because one driver is following another car too closely. Driving while sleepy accounts for 21 percent of deadly car accidents and 7 percent of all crashes. Experts say people do a poor job of gauging how tired they are before getting behind the wheel.

What victims of durotomy should know before filing a claim

A study published in a peer-reviewed medical journal has analyzed 48 medical malpractice cases involving a condition called durotomy. It is a tear in the spine's outer membrane, usually made after spinal surgery and capable of forming long-term issues if not recognized and treated right away. New York residents who have suffered from dural tears should know what the study has to say about their chances of receiving compensation.

The authors of the study make it clear that the plaintiffs were half male and half female, that their average age was 55, and that their allegations ranged from delayed diagnosis and treatment to the reopening of dural tears after repairs. Injuries included physical weakness in 60 percent of the victims and conditions like brain damage and paralysis in 20 percent, with some of the victims dying.

Extent of safety hazards in meat and poultry plants not known

When people sit down to a meal in New York, they might be unaware of the problems faced by workers in meat and poultry plants. Clear details about their working conditions remain difficult to document because workers are afraid to make complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Workers that speak with inspectors expect to lose their jobs if they say anything negative about their employers.

A study recently published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported disturbing findings after speaking with meat and poultry plant workers across five states. According to employee interviews, supervisors routinely denied workers restroom breaks. People reported that some workers choose to wear diapers because they cannot take bathroom breaks. Interviewees also expressed dissatisfaction with on-site medical care at the processing plants.

Imaging software can help doctors detect pneumonia

New York patients who have had pneumonia at some point in their lives may be interested to learn that imaging software can help doctors diagnose pneumonia with greater accuracy. This artificial intelligence-powered imaging software, which was designed by scientists at Stanford University, processes images using a specific set of parameters.

To use the program, which has been named CheXnet, doctors input X-rays of the lungs. The software provides a numeric probability that the lungs in the X-ray have been infected with pneumonia. The software also provides a colored readout that shows areas of the lungs that have more of the pneumonia infection. Doctors can use this information to determine the appropriate steps to treat the illness. In studies, it was shown that the imaging software beat other programs in accuracy after being trained to identify the infection.

Fall protection violations tops 2017 OSHA violations list

New York readers may be interested to learn that fall-related workplace violations topped the list of federal citations issued in 2017, according to a new report by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is the sixth year in a row that fall violations took the top spot.

OSHA reports that there were more than 6,000 fall protection violation citations issued during the 2017 fiscal year. Other top citation categories on the list included hazards communications, scaffolding, respiratory protection and lockout/tagout regulations. While most of the leading citation categories have appeared on previous annual lists, fall protection training violations were a new addition. These citations involved the failure of employers to properly train workers on fall hazards, equipment dangers, fall protection equipment and maintenance.

Study finds ADHD medication lowers car crash risk

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is common among children, adolescents and young adults; its characteristics include short attention spans, impulsivity and hyperactive behavior such as excessive talking and fidgeting. When people with ADHD get behind the wheel, they might endanger others because of their tendency to drive distracted. Residents of New York should know that a study has been published in JAMA Psychiatry showing what the risks are and how they might be alleviated.

Analyzing the health insurance claims for 2005 through 2014, researchers identified over 2.3 million Americans 18 and over with ADHD. More than 1.9 million of them received a prescription for ADHD medication at one time or another.

Skin conditions with similar symptoms can lead to misdiagnoses

New York has plenty of options when it comes to health care providers and skincare specialists. However, the average person may not seek out a dermatologist because they think most skin problems are minor. It's important to remember that many skin disorders are similar in appearance and often confused with each other. A serious disease mistaken for a rash, for example, could lead to lost treatment time or worse.

Skin cancer can start with what looks like a blemish. The most common skin cancer in the United States, basal cell carcinoma, can easily be confused with acne. One in five people gets basal cell carcinoma at some point in their lives. A trip to a dermatologist is recommended if a pimple does not go away for several weeks, if it changes in appearance or size or if it bleeds.

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