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Nursing home aides mock elderly woman on Snapchat

Families in Connecticut may face difficult decisions when it comes to placing their loved ones in a nursing home. Even family members who want to support people's ability to age at home may find few alternatives for relatives who develop dementia or other cognitive problems, requiring extensive supervision and safety protections as well as professional care. When people make the decision to turn to a care facility for help, they may be very afraid of neglect or abuse inside a nursing home. Well-publicized cases have also highlighted the dangers that residents may face inside facilities that are supposed to provide high levels of care.

A 91-year-old woman was taunted by staff members and aides at one Chicago-area nursing home. The woman, who has dementia, struggled with the two aides who shoved a hospital gown in her direction. The incident may never have come to light except for the fact that one of the staff members involved posted it on Snapchat with a caption saying the woman "hates gowns" along with laughing emojis. The woman's family say that the staff members knew that the elderly woman had developed a fear of hospital gowns and were deliberately engaging in elder abuse for entertainment.

September 15 to 21 will be CVSA's Brake Safety Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has set the date for its 2019 Brake Safety Week. From September 15 to 21, truck drivers and other CMV drivers in Connecticut will want to watch out because they are liable to be stopped for a brake inspection. Among commercial truckers especially, ongoing maintenance is required, and neglecting this rule may lead to drivers being issued an out-of-service order.

Brake Safety Week is an annual inspection spree that takes place across North America. It forms part of a greater program called Operation Airbrake Program, which the CVSA sponsors in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. To prepare for Brake Safety Week, law enforcement agencies often make efforts to educate drivers, fleet owners and mechanics on the need for continually maintained brakes.

Cellphone distractions and nursing home negligence

In nursing homes, negligence takes many forms. Maybe a staff member doesn't read a form correctly and gives someone the wrong medication. Maybe communication skills are poor and so no one takes care of a certain patient, with two staff members each thinking the other one is doing it. Maybe a nurse gets busy and forgets a resident in their room when it's time for dinner.

There is no intent to cause harm in any of these cases. But that's still a very low standard of care, and residents deserve far better. A negligent staff can be just as dangerous as an actively abusive staff. In fact, many times, the only difference between the two is the intent. The outcome is the same.

Poor leadership can make workplaces unsafe

Management that fails to treat workers properly may be impacting their job performance and their safety. This is because Connecticut workers and others who are treated poorly tend to make decisions that benefit themselves personally. However, these decisions may have negative consequences for other team members. In some cases, people act out a sense of self-preservation because they aren't sure how they fit into the group or how they are seen by others on their team.

Employers may want to consider creating a culture that focuses more on allowing everyone to get to know each other. Furthermore, companies should conduct regular workplace reviews so that everyone knows where they stand and no one feels left out. Managers are encouraged to develop strong relationships with their employees that are built on a sense of trust and respect for their needs. Generally speaking, treating people as more than commodities can help them be more productive.

IIHS calls for improvements to rear seat safety

Rear seats used to be safer than front seats, but that was back in the 1990s. Connecticut residents should be aware that rear-seat safety has been lagging behind front seats. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has labeled rear seats a danger. However, there are various ways that the safety of rear seats can be improved.

For example, force limiters, which are found on many front seat belts, can lessen the force with which a seat belt tightens against the passenger by providing extra webbing from the belt. Rear-seat passengers may also benefit from forward airbags and side curtain airbags. Some automakers are already developing forward airbags for the rear seat.

Women at higher risk than men for car crash injuries

Connecticut women run a higher risk than men for serious injuries in the wake of a car accident. In fact, a study from the University of Virginia has calculated a woman's risk as being 73% higher than a man's. Drivers in Connecticut may be curious about the reasons for this phenomenon. There are two main factors.

The first reason has been reported on for nearly a decade -- most seat belt designs do not take women into account. Analysts discovered long ago that physical factors related to a woman's body type prevent the average seat belt from giving a full amount of protection.

DOL audit suggests workplace injuries often go unreported

After conducting an audit of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's workplace accident reporting process, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General concluded that severe on-the-job injuries may go unreported half of the time. OSHA introduced stringent new reporting standards in January 2015, but the OIG audit suggests that many employers in Connecticut and around the country either do not know what kinds of injuries they are required to report or ignore the rules.

Workplace safety advocates say that many employers choose to flout OSHA reporting regulations because they would rather pay a $5,000 fine. OSHA often conducts thorough inspections following an on-the-job accident that resulted in serious injury or death, which could uncover safety violations and lead to even stiffer sanctions. Employers around the country reported 23,282 severe injuries to OSHA in 2017, but a senior figure at the agency said that the true number could be more than twice as high.

Construction industry faces these five hazards in the summer

The heat of summer puts construction workers in Connecticut and across the U.S. in danger. First, there is the risk of fatigue, which can lead to workers being inattentive and making bad judgments. Second, there is the possibility of developing a heat-related illness like heat rash or even heat stroke. Two other risks are dehydration and complications arising from overlong exposure to the sun.

Employers should know how to manage these risks. First, it's important to supply lots of water and, if possible, electrolytic beverages like sports drinks. Next, employers should give frequent breaks and designate a shady spot for them.

OSHA: prevent heat-related illness in the summer

Summer, in Connecticut and across the U.S., puts both indoor and outdoor workers at risk for heat-related illnesses. OSHA requires employers to have a heat illness prevention program in place if their employees are exposed to high temperatures. This program must incorporate three things: water, rest breaks and shade.

Though construction sites see 40% of all heat-related worker deaths, these OSHA standards apply to more than the construction industry. In fact, workers in every industry can be affected by high temperatures, so employers everywhere must be able to identify safety risks and manage them. If they do not, their workers may suffer from heat rash, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Regulation rollbacks may put more tired truckers on roads

For drivers in Connecticut, regulatory changes at the Department of Transportation (DOT) may spark greater concern about roadway safety. Reports indicate that the DOT is planning to loosen regulations that restrict the number of hours truck drivers can work at one time. Called hours-of-service regulations, the current law limits truckers to driving 11 hours within a 14-hour shift. Before driving again, they must take at least 10 hours off the clock. Truckers who are caught violating these rules may be taken out of service, preventing them from working and receiving pay.

One major motivation for restricting truckers' hours of service is the threat posed by truck driver fatigue. Truck accidents are likely to cause much more serious harm and even fatalities to people in smaller passenger vehicles due to the weight and size of large trucks. These types of crashes are on the rise, according to some statistics. In 2017, 4,237 large truck crashes caused fatalities while 344,000 more led to injuries, marking a 10% upswing over the previous year. Of the fatal accidents, 83% took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., indicating a strong link between night driving and potential fatigue and serious collisions.

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