A recent emergency situation in an Oklahoma City school elevator concluded with a positive ending; however, it left serious questions about the safety of the premises and potential negligence on the part of inspections.
Local authorities were called to respond to a 911 emergency at the Classen School for Advanced Studies when three middle school girls became trapped in an elevator shaft with approximately one foot of space separating them from the elevator above. The elevator, which was installed in the school in the mid 1990s, is intended for use only by students who cannot utilize the stairway, and a key is needed to gain access. The old style elevator contains a door/ gate opening system that is meant to lock if the elevator is in motion. Officials are investigating how the girls were able to both enter and exit the elevator if it was in motion, or why they did, according to reporting by News OK. The girls were removed successfully by emergency personnel and reportedly sustained no significant injuries.
A school official claimed the most current monthly examination of the elevator was performed on October 26 for which no safety issues were documented. But the yearly examinations mandated by the city were allegedly not performed in 2010 or 2011. School officials and local authorities are investigating the previous records further, as well as the maintenance policy and schedule to ensure future safety, as reported by News OK. If you’ve been injured in an accident that you think resulted from exposure to unsafe premises, contact the Oklahoma premises liability lawyers with the Maples Law Firm at 1(888) 226-6159 for a complimentary case review.
This week dinner tables and kitchens across the country will be bustling with activity. And while that’s a recipe for great meals, it also presents increased risk scenarios for residential home fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimated the number of home kitchen fire accidents was three times the daily mean for the nation, according to data for 2009. In addition, fires originating in the kitchen are the leading cause of home fires in general. During the four year period between 2005 and 2009, fire departments answered to approximately 155,400 infernos resulting from kitchen equipment; those accidents caused an estimated annual median of $771 million in property destruction, 4,800 injuries, and 390 deaths. With that, let’s review some important safety rules offered by the NFPA for cooking this Thanksgiving.
- Don’t allow anything flammable near the stove or oven, including wooden tools, mitts, paper or plastic packages, towels, drapery, and clothes.
- If you step away from meal preparation, turn off the heat on the oven and stove. Many devastating fires have occurred when a stove was left on and unattended for a short period of time.
- Always set a timer to stay on top of cooking times.
- If a small fire starts in a pan or in the oven, immediately switch off the heat and cover the fire with a lid to rob it of oxygen. If a fire starts in the oven, shut the oven door.
- If you cannot extinguish the fire within 30 seconds, exit the room and call 911 or the number for local emergency fire accidents.
If you’ve been injured in an Oklahoma fire that you think was caused by another party’s negligence, call the Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys with the Maples Law Firm at 1(888) 226-6159 for a free consultation.
Oklahoma residents are familiar with volatile weather phenomena of all types, from blizzards to tornadoes. However, the recent earthquake took many by surprise, and shook up employers who may have considered the earthquake clause in their operational safety obligations to be a far fetched concern. What is an employer’s safety obligation in the event of a natural disaster? What is good additional practice? A recent piece by News OK addressed those questions and a few surrounding issues. Below are the main points.
- Under both state and federal law, Oklahoma businesses are required to have an emergency action procedure ready to execute. Those who employ over ten people must put that plan in writing, while smaller companies can tell employees in person. At the very least, such a procedure should address evacuation, operational issues, and emergency contact information for family members.
- If an employee has health issues that were the result of a natural disaster, that individual may be qualified to take leave by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Additionally, if a member of an employee’s family experiences a health issue in relation to or made worse by the natural event, that individual could be allowed FMLA as well.
- If a natural disaster results in the closing of a company’s location for a continuing amount of time, thus putting employees on leave, a company must communicate insurance coverage choices (including COBRA) to these displaced employees.
A company is obligated to provide a safe working environment for employees and clients at all times, and this includes having a well-rehearsed, emergency procedure in place for all major scenarios. If you’ve been injured by an Oklahoma workplace accident, contact the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers with the Maples Law Firm at 1(888) 226-6159 for a free consultation.
Corporate giant Halliburton is facing lawsuits for allegedly causing groundwater pollution surrounding a former work site in Oklahoma that performed missile casing maintenance for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). According to recent reporting by the Insurance Journal, the company carried out its missile maintenance duties at a semi rural location near Duncan, OK, from 1965 to 1991. The site was shut down part way into the 1990s.
The company admitted that an ingredient to the missile fuel (ammonium perchlorate which is a salt that is easily assimilated into water) was found in the ground and in nearby residential water sources near the work site. It also said that it was in the process of assessing the degree of tainting to the water, and would provide bottled water in the interim, and potentially a temporary safe water system if necessary. It did not release a liability and property damage speculations; however, a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims it has made estimates.
Beginning last month, the injury lawsuits filed on the federal and state level state that the victims have been afflicted with medical issues, including thyroid problems (which has been linked to sustained perchlorate exposure), as a result of the contamination. The lawsuits claim that the company was aware of this problem, as well as others involving the release of radioactive and nuclear waste into the earth, for which Halliburton failed to take proper cautionary action to protect the local residents. Have you or your family been injured due to the negligent or reckless actions of a corporate party in Oklahoma? Contact the Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys with the Maples Law Firm at 1(888) 226-6159 for a complimentary and confidential case review.
A number of updates for laws governing Oklahoma drivers went into action on the first day of November, including one called Aaron’s Law. This law deals with increased punishments for individuals found in violation of highway safety rules, set by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
Aaron’s Law is named after Aaron Zents, a teenager who was killed by another driver who ran through a red light in 2009. Because of the tragedy, legislators (with pressure from Aaron’s family and friends, as well as local communities) have increased the punishments for persons convicted of reckless driving and/ or violations of traffic devices or signs. At the time of Aaron’s accident, the driver who ran the red light was charged and convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, fined $800, and placed under house probation for a year. Now, the same kind of accident would most likely warrant a severe felony manslaughter charge, according to reporting by News OK.
This law also cracks down on drivers who fail to properly yield to school buses, suspending the licenses of those found in violation for one year or more. Drivers are required to yield whether they approach a bus from the rear, pass it in the opposite lane of traffic, or navigate an intersection where a bus is stopped. Also , they must remain stopped until the bus’s flashing caution lights are switched off and all children have exited or entered the bus to a safe location. Have you been injured in an Oklahoma motor vehicle accident that you think was the fault of another driver? Contact the Oklahoma traffic accident attorneys with the Maples Law Firm at (888) 226-6159 for a free case review today.
In the small town of Bokoshe, Oklahoma, toxic coal ash is unloaded in large truck loads by a local power plant. And after years of battling illnesses and gridlocked, bureaucratic state authorities on the hazardous civic problem, its residents have filed a class action lawsuit against over 20 businesses and individuals associated with the dumping zone, including the power plant’s owner/ international energy powerhouse AES Corporation.
Town residents involved in the lawsuit say the coal ash (also known as fly ash) has riddled their small community with elevated instances of cancer and respiratory diseases. Out of the 30 households in the nearest proximity to the dumping grounds, over one half have suffered cancer, according to reporting by News 6. Over 500 individuals residing in Bokoshe, or within three miles of the dump zone, are part of the lawsuit. In addition, those involved have put together an advocacy group and an accompanying web site with information and videos regarding the lawsuit and its surrounding circumstances. The suit alleges that the defendants oversaw the disposal of toxic waste into a residential area, and also launched efforts to deceive the local community with misinformation about the health risks associated with the dumping activities. Its goal is to stop the dumping, clean the area of waste, and provide remuneration for the treatment of any illnesses resulting from the exposure or damages to property.
A Bokoshe resident told News 6 that the lawsuit is about community safety and corporate responsibility. This story is a reminder that all community members must speak up and bond together in the face of injustice. If you’ve been injured by the negligent actions of another party in Oklahoma, contact the Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys with the Maples Law Firm at (888) 226-6159 for a complimentary consultation.
In recently released data, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) reported there have been 44 fatalities due to explosive accidents involving oil and gas drilling sites at locations throughout the nation. Nine of those deaths occurred in Oklahoma. But according to the board, every one of the tragedies could have been stopped by improved safety rules and procedures, as reported by News OK.
The agency presented a number of updated suggestions aimed at heightening safe workplace practices at oil and natural gas sites. The board also asked state regulators in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas to mandate new rules for designing safer, contemporary oil and gas tanks that efficiently reduce the instance of explosions. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said it is reviewing the board’s suggestions. Additionally, an official with the Chemical Safety Board told News OK that a lot of oil and natural gas production sites are located way too close (150 to 300 feet) from public establishments as well as homes, and do not have adequate signage or blockades to stop public entrance.
Investigators from the federal board visited the state in 2010 after a fatal oil site accident close to Weleetka, OK, caused one fatality and one injury. The agency’s increased focus on these industrial workplace dangers were directly spurred from that incident, as well as two more in other states (TX and MS) that occurred during October 2009 and April 2010.
This comes shortly after new statistics by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) exhibited an annual surge of 11 percent in the state’s overall workplace deaths during 2010. If you’ve been injured in an Oklahoma oil or gas production accident, contact the Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys with Maples Law Firm at 1(888) 226-6159. Call for a free case review today.
Distracted driving is one of the most rampant and insidious hazards on the highway today. While increasing federal and state action has placed heightened awareness and enforcement on the dangerous activity, it remains at the top of crash causes. However, distracting driving is a hazard that can somewhat easily be prevented with knowledge and willpower. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) provided the following rules, and we extracted seven that every driver must abide by to eradicate distracted driving.
- Don’t use your phone. Cell phones are the most common causes of distracted driving. Disable the ringer when driving to avoid unintentional distraction or temptation.
- Never text behind the wheel. This is among the most deadly forms of cell phone use as it takes your eyes, mind, and hands away from the wheel.
- If you absolutely need to make a call, pull over to a parking lot or comparably safe region.
- Know where you’re going before you leave. Don’t take your eyes or concentration off the road to adjust GPS devices or view maps.
- Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by passengers. This includes children and pets (which should also be secured). Any issues that involve attention or emotion should be handled when the car is parked in a safe place — or better yet, when everyone is out of it.
- Stay focused on driving and nothing else. Don’t eat, drink, smoke, or anything else that removes your attention from the road.
- Use an application or service that lets callers know you’re driving and that you will call them back as soon as you’re off the road.
It’s also important that all drivers understand the law. In many states, the ban on text messaging is a primary law, and that number is continually growing. The amount of states prohibiting the usage of all hand held devices while driving is also steadily increasing. Have you been injured in an Oklahoma car accident that you think was the fault of distracted driving? Contact the Oklahoma traffic accident attorneys with Maples Law Firm at 1(888) 226-6159 for a complimentary case review.