Articles Posted in Holidays

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is warning temporary workers and employers about the need to keep seasonal-worker safety a priority this holiday season.

While COVID has made this a holiday shopping season like no other, the end-of-year shopping period is typically the most dangerous time of the year for retail workers. Seasonal and temporary workers can be at especially high risk.shoppingsafety-225x300

The coronavirus pandemic is having an outsized impact in every area of our lives. While it won’t be until after the holidays that we have clear data on how it impacted seasonal employment, Southwest Florida is also entering what is typically the busy tourist season, when many employers begin hiring in anticipation of winter guests.

Recent years have seen an undeniable switch to online shopping that has been drastically accelerated by the pandemic. Consequently, OSHA’s focus is on warehouse and delivery workers, as well as retail safety measures aimed at reducing the risks posed by COVID-19.

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chrsitmassafety-300x225Black Friday signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This year’s season is the shortest possible — 6 days fewer than last year and the fewest number of holiday shopping days since 2013.

Combine that with an early start to frigid northern temperatures that descended upon the midwest before Thanksgiving dinner was on the table, and the forecast in Southwest Florida calls for packed roads and burgeoning malls and shopping centers from now until Christmas Eve Day.

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral wish each of you a safe and blessed holiday season. Staying safe is a proactive activity that approaches the level of a competitive sport as shoppers and arriving winter residents and tourists compete for space.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured.

We have posted recently about reducing holiday risks, and the rising road risks that come with driving at night and the return of winter residents and seasonal traffic.

AAA reports gas prices are dropping sharply just in time for the busiest travel season of the year.thanksgiving-300x200

“Those heading out for a road trip, should find the lowest gas prices for the holiday in two years,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.

In all, some 60 million travelers have plans for this weekend,  in what authorities expect to be the busiest holiday travel weekend in a dozen years.

A smart, prepared, traveler will always be a safer traveler.

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In the midst of all the holiday festivities is a lurking risk on our roads: Drunk drivers. drunk driving injury lawyer

A recent analysis by SCRAM Systems (the company that sells DOT-approved alcohol and location monitoring devices) notes that while during most of the year, 28 percent of highway deaths are related to alcohol, that figure spikes to 40 percent during the holidays. Over Thanksgiving, it’s 35 percent, Christmas, 41 percent, and on New Year’s Eve/ Day, it’s 58 percent.

What’s more, 16 percent of adults surveyed say they drink more than usual over the holidays. Half said alcohol plays some role in their family’s holiday gatherings and an astonishing 96 percent say they either went to work hung over after a party or know someone who did. Bear in mind: Being hungover can sometimes still be considered impaired driving, even if your blood-alcohol concentration falls below the per se limit of 0.08, as outlined in F.S. 316.193. The statute allows for a criminal conviction any time a person is “under the influence of alcoholic beverages… to the extent the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”  Continue reading ›

As the holidays approach, the demand for new toys will be high, both in stores and online. Buyers must be cautious when purchasing items to make sure they are following the manufacturer’s age recommendations and that they stay tuned to any reports of injuries or news of a potential toy recall.injury lawyer

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued its annual Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries report for 2016, revealing that last year, there were a total of 240,000 emergency department trips spurred by dangerous or defective toys. That doesn’t represent a significant statistical trend

While not every toy-related injury is cause for a personal injury lawsuit, if plaintiff can show the product was unreasonably dangerous or defectively designed or defectively manufactured, there may be grounds for legal action. Serious injuries can occur when toys are made cheaply, with toxic materials or sold with inadequate warnings. Defendants in these cases can include anyone in the chain of distribution – from the product designer to its manufacturer to its distributor. Continue reading ›

Dangerous toys are a problem year-round, but heightened concern is warranted during the holiday gift-giving season.

In recent years, both federal authorities and even toymakers themselves have initiated higher standards, meaning the majority of toys on the market are safer than they’ve been in the past. Still, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports toy-related injuries resulted in 200,000 hospitalizations last year.

The journal Clinical Pediatrics indicates the toy-related injury rate has spiked 40 percent between 1990 and 2011. According to their research, 3 million children were injured by toys during that time, which means there was a child getting hurt every 3 seconds. More than 50 percent of those were children under the age of 6.
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As the holiday shopping season nears a close, many people are hurriedly rushing from store to store in search of those last few necessities.

It should be noted, however, that there is a heightened risk of injuries throughout the year-end holiday period. These include slip-and-fall injuries, trip-and-fall accidents, falling merchandise from shelves or even a third-party attack by someone targeting shoppers exiting stores with expensive items.

In each case, owners and operators of these facilities owe their patrons the highest duty of care in ensuring their safety. Although not every injury that occurs at a store is compensable, many times these instances occur as a result of careless or negligent operators and property managers. You should not have to shoulder the burden of medical bills and lost wages because a store failed to maintain safe premises.
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With the Fourth of July holiday, we’re all looking for some time off with friends and family amid a fireworks show. Unfortunately, too many of those at-home firework shows turn into serious accidents. And that’s why, under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage.

In Florida, it’s also illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks. This includes firecrackers, rockets, roman candles, shells and mortars and multiple tube devices.

“If you choose to celebrate with fireworks, protect your family and friends by following the proper safety practices,” said Jeff Atwater, the Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal.

Our Lehigh Acres injury lawyers understand that there are going to be many families out celebrating this Fourth of July with friends and family members. If you’re going to be lighting off any kind of fireworks, make sure that they’re legal and safe. There were more than 270 fires caused by fireworks in 2011. Not only did these fires cost close to $750,000 in property damage, but they led to injury as well.

According to the Division of State Fire Marshal, there are over 2,000 fireworks that are approved for use in Florida. When you’re using these fireworks, you’re urged to follow these safety tips:

-Never allow children to play with any sparklers. These devices can heat up to anywhere between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees and can serve up some serious risks for injuries.

-Make sure that all pets are kept away from areas in which fireworks are being lit.

-You only want to light off one firework at a time.

-Never try to make or alter your own fireworks.

-Stay away from those lighting fireworks. They have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.

-Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.

-If a firework doesn’t go off, or is a “dud”, don’t attempt relighting it. Simply disregard it in a bucket of water.

-Make sure that you’re keeping a bucket of water nearby of a hose.

-Make sure that you’re only getting your fireworks from a licensed supplier.

-Always light fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface to insure the stability of the products. Grass is generally not suitable for any firework intended to be used in an upright position. If lighting fireworks on grass, lay down a flat wooden board for a shooting surface.

-Make sure you’re not lighting off any illegal fireworks. Florida law classifies it as a first-degree misdemeanor, which means those convicted could face up to a year in a prison, a $1,000 fine and court costs.

-Your safest bet is to attend a public fireworks show. This is your safest (and probably most entertaining) option.
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If you’re planning on serving cocktails at you holiday party this year, you’re going to want to make sure that your guests have a safe ride home. After all, you could be held responsible. Unfortunately, anytime there’s a celebration, the danger of drunk driving is always a possibility, as is a terrible car accident causing injuries to all involved.

Our Cape Coral accident attorneys want to make sure your party is successful — and safe! Go ahead and review the following tips when planning out this year’s holiday festivities. Be a good hosts and lookout for your guests.

Holiday Party Safety Tips:

-Don’t serve liquor. You don’t need booze to have a good time. We do understand that this may not be realistic, but moderation is key.

-Keep an eye on how much your guests are consuming. Open bar only encourages over-drinking. You could even provide guests with “drink tickets” with a certain amount for each guest.

-Make sure your guests are well fed. Consider serving food when the bar closes.

-An hour to two before the party ends, close the bar to allow for more time to “sober up.” Check up on all guests before closing down for the night.

-Consider having the party off-site. If the party takes place at a restaurant or a hotel with a liquor license – and the facility’s employees serve the drinks – you’re less likely to be held responsible.

-Make sure that cab rides are available for all guests. Keep company phone numbers at hand. Offer these numbers to guests without a designated driver.

-Keep an eye out for minors. You can get in some serious trouble if you’re busted by authorities serving alcohol to minors.

-In Florida, party hosts’ are responsible for their guests’ actions after leaving a party intoxicated only if the guests are minors or the person is addicted to alcohol.

-Consider hiring a professional bartender. This way they can monitor how much guests are consuming.

-As a party host, you’re urged not to get too intoxicated. You’re going to want to keep an eye on all aspects of your party. Stay sober and stay in the loop.

-Make sure there are plenty of drinks without alcohol on hand to not only encourage guests to stay sober, but also to offer guests a designated driver as needed.

-Make sure that all guests who are drinking have a designated driver or a safe way home.

-Allow guests to spend the night if they don’t have a safe way to get home. Have blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows ready.
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With the holiday season here, many people in the area have Christmas trees in their homes and businesses. While these festive symbols of the season brighten the holidays, they can also be the source of tragic accidents. That’s why it’s important to take appropriate safety measures to help avoid a Christmas tree fire in Fort Myers.

From 2005 to 2009, there were more than 200 home fires every year in the U.S. that were the result of a Christmas tree catching fire. These accidents kill more than 10 people and injure nearly 30 residents annually. If that’s not bad enough, the holiday fires cost more than $16.5 million in property damage each year. These accidents aren’t common, considering they really only happen in the months of December and January, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When they do happen though, they’re oftentimes serious.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers understand that one out of every five tree fire accidents is started because someone put a heat source too close to the tree. These accidents are completely preventable. Following a few simple safety measures can help ensure Christmas trees do not catch fire.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

-If you’re one of those who like to ring in the holidays with an artificial tree, get one that has been labeled as fire resistant or fire retardant.

-If you like to celebrate the holidays with the smell of fresh pine needles, you should pick a tree that doesn’t throw its green needles on the ground when you touch it.

-After choosing the perfect spot for your tree, cut an inch or two from the base of its trunk before setting it in its stand.

-Place your tree three feet from walls, fireplaces, heat sources, candles, space heaters, lights or vents.

-You never want to set up your Christmas tree in front of an exit. If it goes up into flames, how are you going to get out?

-Give your tree lots to drink. Provide it with water daily.

-Make sure your tree lights have the approval label of an independent testing laboratory. There are some lights that are designed for indoor use and some for outdoor use, but never for both.

-You never want to connect more than three strands of lights together.

-Shut off the lights on your Christmas tree before you go to bed and before you leave the home.

-When Christmas is over and your tree starts throwing all of its needles on your floor, it’s time to get rid of it. Trees that are dried out pose as serious threats for home fires. Don’t keep old trees in your home or in your garage.

We wish everyone a safe, happy and fire-free holiday season.
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