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Belleville Legal Issues Blog

Rise in trench excavation deaths partly due to labor shortage

Illinois residents who work in trenching and excavation may be aware of a recent rise in fatalities within their industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2016 saw a total of 23 deaths, which was double the average number of deaths in the previous five years. The BLS also states that, for number of deaths and injuries, 2017 was the worst year for trench workers in recent history.

This is partly due to a shortage of skilled labor. Though the construction industry has bounced back from the recession, it is now experiencing an influx of young laborers unskilled in trenching and excavation work. Builders may also neglect to check the reliability of the plumbers and excavators they contract with and fail to include requirements about proper excavation techniques in their contracts.

OSHA issues reminder about worker rights during holidays

The holidays are here, and many Illinois retailers are hiring temporary workers to help manage the associated surge in business. As a result, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division have issued a reminder to ensure that employers understand the rights of seasonal workers.

During the holidays, many new employees are stocking shelves, delivering products and working in warehouses. OSHA reminds employers that they have a legal responsibility to make sure these new employees are properly trained and provided with a safe working environment. For example, employees dealing with large crowds during sales events should be trained on pedestrian safety and provided with crowd control measures such as barricades, rope lines and security personnel. In addition, employees working in warehouses should be trained on how to avoid back injuries, falls and equipment accidents, while delivery drivers should be trained on how to safely operate their vehicles and handle heavy packages.

Safety tips for employees working in winter

Residents of Illinois and elsewhere in the U.S. may wonder how to stay safe in slippery or snowy conditions. Everything from controlling traffic to downed tree limb removal should be considered when making a workplace safer for employees. OSHA states that employers are required by law to protect employees from cold weather, ice, snow and wind.

For example, the activity most commonly associated with winter occupational hazards is rooftop snow removal. Workers are often seriously injured or even killed while removing snow or ice from rooftops, decks and other structures. OSHA recommends snow removal methods that do not necessitate employees climbing onto roofs, the evaluation of loads exerted on the roof, the requirement that employees always use equipment that will protect them in the event of a fall and that people exercise caution when operating ladders and aerial lifts.

What you need to know about DUI field sobriety tests

If you are pulled over by law enforcement due to some type of traffic infraction, the officer may be observing you closely to see if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the officer believes there are signs that you may in fact be under the influence, you may be asked to participate in a field sobriety test.

A field sobriety test can be the first of several tests an officer will ask you to perform to make a judgement on your ability to operate the motor vehicle. A field sobriety test is by no means an accurate tool for determining the sobriety of a person. The test is only used to give the officer a guide for making a DUI arrest.

Job safety for temporary workers

Employers in Illinois are responsible for providing safe work environments for their employees. This includes both permanent and temporary workers. But for temporary workers who are placed by staffing agencies, the responsibility for safety is shared by the employer and the staffing agency. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends communication between the staffing agency and host employer to ensure that both parties understand their respective roles in temporary worker safety.

OSHA has expressed concerns that temporary workers may be more vulnerable to workplace hazards than permanent employees for several reasons. Temporary workers sometimes get placed in a variety of jobs, possibly without adequate training. In addition, some employers might use temporary workers as a means of avoiding full compliance with safety standards. OSHA advises employers that they are required to treat all employees, both permanent and temporary, the same in terms of safety and training.

Handling contentious child custody and support issues

For parents in Illinois, divorce can be particularly painful. In general, most parents will have less time with their children after the split, and they may also have a contentious relationship with their former partners. These issues can easily spill over into co-parenting conflicts. While some parents are able to easily negotiate a fair parenting plan that takes both parents' relationship with the children into consideration, others wind up locked in custody battles.

On many occasions, both mothers and fathers involved in contentious child custody situations feel as if they have been treated unfairly in family court. They may feel that short shrift was given to their arguments or that they have been victims of bias. Indeed, approximately 80 percent of cases involve mothers with primary custody. While some judges take an excessively traditional approach with unfair consequences, most of these cases don't reflect hard-fought custody battles. In many situations, the mother is the only parent seeking child custody, while shared or joint custody is quickly becoming the standard.

Divorcing Illinois residents: avoid these financial blunders

Getting a divorce can be difficult for many individuals. Whether the two have been a couple for just a few years or have been married a long time, there are financial steps each one can take as they begin to live separately. Making a few good economic decisions may help ease emotions caused by the breakup and let both people get on with building their independent lives.

Be careful cashing in 401(k) accounts to pay bills or make a purchase. There may be a large sum of money that can seem to lessen financial hardships, but it can cost a bundle in the long run. A big mistake some people make is not having taxes withdrawn ahead when they take a 401(k) distribution. The IRS will also impose a 10 percent penalty on anyone under 59 ½ who takes an early payout.

Steps to take to gain compensation after a car accident

Car accidents happen every day. If you have been injured in an accident or your vehicle sustained significant damage in a collision, one of your top priorities will be to determine how to pay for the medical bills and car repair. If another individual caused the damage to you and your vehicle--due to their negligence or carelessness--you may be able to seek financial compensation for these injuries and damages.

In 2015, there were over 300,000 Illinois car crashes, and 21 percent of those resulted in injuries. In order to get the compensation that you deserve, what should you do at the scene of a car accident, as well as after you leave the scene?

Reducing the stress of children after a divorce.

Illinois parents in a post-divorce environment go through several facets of stress when moving on in their lives. Financial, social and emotional changes due to the divorce all can take their toll. These parents understand that the divorce also has an emotional impact upon the children of the marriage. Because a divorce is a new experience for both parents and children, many are not equipped to handle the situation.

However, the parents dealing with a child's emotions after the marriage has ended is not a hopeless situation. With a few simple rules and parenting techniques, the likelihood of a well-adjusted child increases substantially.

Accidents with teens are more often deadly

Illinois drivers may already be wary of cars full of teens on the road, and a study released for National Teen Driver Safety Week will do little to allay their concerns. While teen drivers may be widely considered to be reckless or careless, the concern about their driving isn't limited solely to age-related stereotypes. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, accidents involving cars with a teen driver and only teen passengers are more likely to be fatal for everyone involved.

The study indicates that the danger is especially pronounced for people in other cars involved in a crash with the teen driver. The fatality risk escalates by 56 percent for occupants of other vehicles in a motor vehicle accident with a teen driving other teens. For cyclists and pedestrians hit by teens driving teens, their risk of death is escalated by 17 percent. Even the teen drivers themselves are more likely to die; their fatality risk rises by 45 percent. On average, accidents involving teens driving teens are 51 percent more likely to cause death.

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