Distracted Driving: A Workplace Hazard in Hickory, Throughout North Carolina

I think we would all agree that the reason we get up and go to work each day is to provide for ourselves or our families. Working in a safe and hazard-free environment allows us to do just that.

We will be embarking on a series of blogs about common workplace injuries in North Carolina to create awareness about dangers and risks faced on the job. The goal of our Hickory workers’ compensation attorneys is to let injured workers know that you do have rights and should take action when an injury is sustained at work.
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We often post about the dangers of distracted drivers on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, but distractions can also occur on the job when a driver is backing into a loading dock or texting on the way to an appointment.

The Hickory Daily Record recently reported about a fatal accident that occurred at Institution Food House (IFH) when a tractor trailer was backing into a loading dock to unload a shipment. Hickory police report that a man standing in the loading dock was struck by the Pepsi distributor as the driver was going in reverse. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident is under investigation by North Carolina Department of Labor for unsafe work practices.

This is the second serious work accident to occur at IFH since 2007. In the 2007 work accident, a driver had parked on an incline and was run over by the truck as he got out and stood behind the vehicle, sustaining severe injuries to his lower body. IFH was cited for failure to provide a safe environment; specifically, the tractor trailer was not secured to prevent movement in the loading dock. The company was fined $963 following the 2007 incident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges employers to create a no-texting policy for all workers. It is projected that with each additional 1 million text messages, the number of distracted driving fatalities in crashes increases by 75 percent.

“It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of OSHA. “We are asking employers to send a clear message to workers and supervisors that your company neither requires nor condones texting while driving.”

Employers should:

-Declare their work vehicles as “text-free zones.”

-Establish safe times or areas for workers to communicate to managers or get in touch with customers who may be waiting for them.

-Never offer financial incentives to employees trying to get ahead that would encourage or require employees to text while they are driving.

Distractions while driving is certainly a workplace hazard that needs to be addressed in order to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that occur on the job. Employers have a responsibility to educate and create policies that will keep their employees free from danger. Banning texting could not only keep workers safe, but could save lives of other motorists that share the the road.

If you have been injured on the job in North Carolina or have a workers’ compensation claim, contact the experienced work injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for advice about your rights. We offer free consultations to injured workers and their families so call 1-800-887-1965 to set up an appointment today.

More Blog Entries:

National Safety Month Aimed at Reducing Driver Inattention Accidents in Greensboro, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 4, 2011

Long Awaited Benefits Decision Favors Families of North Carolina Workers Injured on the Job, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 6, 2011

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