Ten people sustained non-serious injuries in a residential gas explosion in New York City, the New York Times reported last week. The gas explosion took place in a three-story Bronx house, where Fire marshals and Con Edison inspectors are investigating whether the gas plumbing system may have been responsible for the incident. The Times report states that Con Edison said in a statement that the company “was not doing work at the house at the time of the explosion and that gas service had been shut off after the incident.” Continue reading
A new bill in the New York City Council would remove the New York Police Department’s authority to investigate car crashes, vesting that power instead with the city’s Department of Transportation. According to StreetsBlog, the bill is supported by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson but opposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In a statement to the publication, Johnson said that the Department of Transportation “could operate in a better way,” and that the transfer of power would professionalize the investigation of car crashes and traffic incidents. In a statement arguing against the bill, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in part: “I want to see stronger penalties for people who hurt or kill other people with their automobile. I still think we have farther to go on that front, particularly in state law. I want to see more stringent investigations that lead to consequences… my goal is to just do better with crash investigations, but I think NYPD and DOT both have a role to play.” Continue reading
A new study by the transportation safety nonprofit organization Transportation Alternatives found that traffic violence is “a near-universal experience” for people living in New York City. According to the group’s research, 30% of New Yorkers have been injured in a traffic collision, while 70% of New Yorkers know someone who has either been injured or killed in a traffic collision.
Transportation Alternatives’ data shows that someone dies of traffic violence every 36 hours in New York City. The victims of traffic violence include pedestrians, drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Transportation Alternatives attributes much of the risk of traffic-related fatalities to “unsafe streets,” “urban avenues built to encourage speeding,” and “lanes that are unprotected, disconnected, or entirely missing.” Continue reading
Experts have expressed concerns that pressure injuries, also known as bedsores, have risen with the spike in hospitalizations during the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, according to a new report in USA Today, “hospitals are putting extra focus” on preventing bedsores, which more than 2.5 million people suffer from each year, according to a the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel estimate, and which kill more than 60,000 people annually.
Pressure injuries involve “localized damage to the skin or underlying soft tissue,” the report states. They often occur over “a bony area or from a medical device,” when the area experiences either “intense” or sustained pressure, or both. A pressure injury may simply involve a light abrasion of the skin, or an open wound. Continue reading
A new analysis by Construction Dive details research showing “that construction workers had the highest positivity rates for asymptomatic cases of any occupation, including healthcare staff, first responders, correctional personnel, elderly care workers, grocery store workers and food service employees.”
The research was completed by Curative, a “testing firm”, in Los Angeles from August to October, according to the report, and consisted of giving people who tested positive for Covid-19 a questionnaire that inquired about their profession. It ultimately showed that construction workers “had a positivity rate of 5.7% for individuals who were asymptomatic, and 10.1% for those with symptoms, according to the study.” Continue reading
Almost 90,000 sexual abuse claims were filed against the Boy Scouts of America in advance of a filing deadline last month. The claims, made in connection with the organizations bankruptcy proceedings, will be vetted, with an undetermined number to be settled from a compensation fund established during the bankruptcy process. Although that deadline has passed, claimants in New York can still file sexual abuse claims against local Boy Scouts of America councils, due to state law extending the period in which survivors of sexual abuse can file lawsuits. Continue reading
The labor union AFL-CIO recently released its 29th annual “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” report. Among other things, the study examines state and national trends in workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses; safety inspections; penalties and other sanctions issued against workplaces under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and staffing issues. It also includes information about the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on workplaces. Continue reading
A new study out of Brown University investigates the risks of Covid-19 aerosol transmission in a car. According to Science Daily, the study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that the risk was lowest when all four windows were open. The researchers did not look at the airflow of respiratory droplets or the risk of infection, only the flow of aerosol particles through a moving car.
The researchers simulated airflow within a compact car using simulated models, in which the car’s driver was accompanied by a single passenger sitting in the rear passenger seat. One of the study’s lead authors told Science Daily that they found opening windows was a much better means of circulating air than turning on the vehicle’s own ventilation system. “Driving around with the windows up and the air conditioning or heat on is definitely the worst scenario, according to our computer simulations,” he said. “The best scenario we found was having all four windows open, but even having one or two open was far better than having them all closed.” Continue reading
Last week Construction Dive, a publication focused on the construction industry, rounded up a number of construction sites across the country that have experienced Covid-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began. As Construction Dive notes, there is no national body tracking outbreaks by industry, but local news sources have kept an eye on their communities, including construction workplaces.
In April, according to Construction Dive, there were at least two Covid-19 clusters centered in a construction site at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. The clusters affected seven workers, and the construction site “was shut down for disinfecting after each outbreak.” Continue reading
Even as overall traffic levels fell over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of crashes and fatalities at work zones has risen, according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Workers patching potholes, striping roads, directing traffic or building highways are more at risk than ever,” it states, “as drivers zoom through work zones or are preoccupied chatting or texting on their phones.”
These trend in spite of a steep reduction in vehicle miles traveled: 40% in April 2020 (compared to April 2019) and 26% in May, per federal data. The report goes on to state that work zone crews continue to deal with reckless motorists even as traffic volume resumes. It cites a series of instances in Michigan, in which “vehicles struck three county employees in a state contractor” over the course of a single week, killing two of those victims. Pew stresses that motorists and passengers also suffer the consequences of reckless driving, noting that of the 672 fatal work zone crashes with 755 deaths in 2018, only 124 of those deaths were among the work zone crews. Of the 123,000 work zone crashes in 2018, it said, 45,000 people suffered injuries.