Looking Up: An Eye on Ladder Safety

Gutter cleaning and holiday decorating seasons are upon us. These quintessential fall and winter outdoor home projects have one thing in common, a lot of ladder usage by homeowners like yourself.

With more than 500,000 people treated in emergency departments each year due to ladder falls, it’s clear ladders pose safety hazards of which many consumers are not aware. In the construction industry alone, there are approximately 115 deaths annually due to falls from ladders. Falls like this cost society more than 24 billion dollars annually for medical bills, legal costs, lost wages, etc.

For many though, ladders are a necessary part of life to complete work and chores. Even with the safety hazards they pose, ladders will continue to be used so it’s up to manufacturers to design safer, easier to use equipment. Consumers like yourself should also know how to choose and use the correct equipment for the job.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses the hazards ladders pose, what designs to look for when choosing a ladder, and how to safely use your ladder.

For more information on choosing a ladder and ladder safety:

Visit AmericanLadderInstitute.org
Read OSHA Report 3625

Also, don’t forget to download the Niosh Ladder Safety App before you begin using your ladder.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.


Railroad Right-of-Ways and People

It seems simple enough. Train right-of-ways are for trains. They allow trains to safely pass through towns and cities, over well-traveled streets, safely, without stopping. But, even though the name even specifies they’re for trains, many pedestrians have taken to using these crossings to access train tracks, creating very dangerous situations.

While vehicle collisions with trains have decreased over the last 20 years, the same cannot be said for pedestrian incidents. In 2012, 850 people suffered casualties while on railroad right-of-ways.  With pedestrians accessing railroad crossings and increased train traffic around the country, this number will continue to rise.

Even with posted signs, people will continue to access railroad tracks because they find it’s convenient and they don’t perceive any danger in it. Signs cannot be the answer to preventing serious injuries and/or death because of this human factor. Behavioral changes, like getting people to not cross railroad tracks or getting people to use seat belts, can take decades.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses this growing nationwide issue, how it’s affecting his local community in Columbus, IN, and what can be done to prevent a disaster.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.


Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: You Have Jury Duty

Have you ever seen your neighbor walk away from their mailbox with a look of discontentment or frustration? Likely causes for his less than happy demeanor: an unexpected bill or jury summons. A majority of adults would probably make the same face if they received a jury summons too.

While jury duty is not at the top of the fun to-do list for many, it is a very important civic function. Serving on a jury allows accused persons their constitutional right to a timely, impartial jury and a chance to face their accusers.

Remember, every accused person is supposed to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. That’s where the jury comes in. It’s the role of a jury to pass judgement on the accused, determining if they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Turn up your volume and listen in to Peter King and guest attorney Jay Hoffman as they discuss juries and reasonable doubt on People’s Law Talk. Listen now and you’ll be informed the next time you’re called to fulfill your civic duty.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.


Early Bird or Night Owl: Fatigue and Worker Safety

Both early birds and night owls have specific circadian rhythm that affect when they’re sleepy or tired and when they’re energized and ready to work. Back at the turn of the 20th century, people followed these rhythms, sleeping on average 9 hours a day, living and working during regular daylight hours.

Now society is going all day and night thanks to the spread of electricity and technology. With this alteration to cycles, there has been an increase in fatigue, defined as a body’s response to sleepiness or prolonged exertion.

In our 24/7 world, 38 percent of workers sleep less than seven hours a night. The lack of sleep results in increased fatigue and a 13 percent increase in risk of death or serious injury. Ultimately, fatigue related US losses cost almost $2000 per worker each year with a loss of 1.2 million work days a year.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses this pattern of fatigue, the risks resulting from fatigue, and risk management practices for fatigued workers.

Looking for further resources for fatigue management? Visit the National Safety Council’s website.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.


Distracted Driving by the Numbers

Distracted driving due to technology is a real threat. As drivers we recognize the hazards yet we continue to ignore what we know.

This is distracted driving by the numbers:

  • 3,000 people die each year as a result of distractive technology.
  • 2 in 3 drivers reported talking on their cell phone while driving in the past month.
  • 1 in 3 (31.5 percent) drivers admit to typing or sending a text message or email while driving.
  • 2 in 5 (42.3 percent) drivers report reading a text message or email while driving.
  • People are more accepting of hands-free cell phone use than hand-held (63.1 percent vs. 30.8 percent).
  • Research indicates drivers using handheld and hands-free phones only see about 50 percent of all the information in their driving environment.
  • Less than half (42.4 percent) of drivers support an outright ban on using any type of cell phone (including hands-free) while driving.
  • 58 percent of drivers believe it is acceptable to use cellphones while driving
  • 60 percent of college students admit they maybe addicted to their cellphones.

The numbers clearly show distractive technology is a hazard. As drivers we know it but we don’t change our behavior. Why? As human beings we are so closely connected to cellphones that it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, not to “sneak a peek” at while driving. That is why distractions from technology while driving a vehicle must be achieved through design.  It is possible. The following are some interesting ideas for consideration:

In 2005, Patent Application US 2005/0119002 A1 discussed a system for controlling wireless communication from a moving vehicle. The patent claimed an innovation regarding a system for preventing mobile phone conversations in vehicles traveling above a pre-defined speed without cutting off communication. The patent addresses previous art recognizing patent applications from the year 2001. In 2007, the above patent application was granted, US Patent No. 7,187, 953 B2.

In 2012, US Patent No. 8,131,205 B2 (filed April 30, 2009) discussed a mobile phone detection and interruption system method for vehicles. The patent discussed a system capable of being mounted in a vehicle and blocking communications between a mobile phone and cellular network responsive to the velocity of the vehicle and/or detection of a mobile phone communication in the vehicle.

In 2013, US Patent No. 8,384,555 B2 (filed January 11, 2010) discussed method and system for automated detection of mobile phone usage. In the patent, it discusses previous art related to the system.

In 2012, an article in a technical journal discussed a system to detect and block only driver’s usage of cellphone signals, but allowing passengers in a vehicle to continue to use their cellphones. The system involved a noninvasive, small size, mobile detection system with a jammer to detect the driver’s use of mobile phone and not the phone used by fellow passengers. The blocking of the mobile communication only occurred in the driver seating area.

The above systems do not rely upon our decisions as drives on whether or not to use a cellphone app to block a signal while driving. The design eliminates the hazard without our behavior becoming a factor. These designs are one piece of the puzzle in achieving Vision Zero.

Sources:
www.distraction.gov
www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/Technology-Reduces-Cell-Phone-Distracted-Driving.aspx
www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2015_TSCI.pdf
James A. Roberts, Luc Honore Petnji Yaya and Chris Manolis, (2104). The Invisible Addiction: Cell-Phone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 3(4), p. 254-265. 
For further in-depth reading on the complexities required for everyday driving, see John Groeger, 2000, Understanding Driving, Applying Cognitive Psychology to a Complex Everyday Task. Psychology Press.
H. Abdul Shabeer, R.S.D. Wahida Banu, H. Abdul Zubar, (2012). Technology to prevent mobile phone accidents. Int. J. Enterprise Network Management, Vol. 5, No. 23, 2012.


Black History Month: African American Engineers

As Black History Month wraps up, take a look back at all of the African American engineering solutions that have promoted and developed a safer society for us today. From the nineteenth century through present day, there are scores of notable African Americans engineering a safer world.

Do you recognize any of these names?

  • Benjamin Bradley
  • Elijah (Eli) McCoy
  • Granville Woods
  • Garrett Augustus Morgan
  • Frederick McKinley Jones
  • William Hunter Dammond
  • General Hugh Robinson
  • Walt Braithwaite
  • Dr. Aprille Ericsson
  • Dr. Wanda Austin

Listen in as Kevin King discusses Black History Month and the contributions these African Americans have made to influence safety in our society on People’s Law Talk.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.