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The Ups and Downs of Parking Lot Control Arms

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My office is contacted many times a month regarding a parking lot control arm or barrier gate injury of some sort. These terms are generally interchangeable; however, some standards do not use the term control arm, only barrier arm. Usually, the attorney starts by explaining that the plaintiff was hit by a descending parking lot arm without any advance warning. Sometimes the injured party is riding a motorcycle, sometimes walking as a pedestrian under the arm. In other claims the gate arm does not fully cycle open before returning to the horizontal position. There are also cases where the gate appears to have been left in an open position, turned off, and is remaining in the upright position for extended periods of time and suddenly descends just as a pedestrian begins to pass under it. There are numerous variations of the same type of accident, but there are big differences in who the responsible party is for the cause of injury. Some of the first questions asked pertain to how the device works, and why the arm did not detect the person as they walked through the driveway.

FULLY AUTOMATED OR ATTENDED, BOTH SHARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS

Manufacturers of most barrier arm gates build their devices to activate in one of two different ways. Fully automated by remote stimulus and/or manually controlled by a parking lot attendant.

Many parking lot control arms are activated when a driver pulls up to a parking lot gate in a vehicle. As the vehicle arrives, an electronic signal is sent to the arm mechanism due to the detection of that vehicles large metallic presence interacting with an in-ground magnetic field. This

in- ground magnetic field is created from buried wires known in the trade as an induction loop. The signal generated from this “activation or approach magnetic induction flux loop” often is connected to a ticket printing device. This piece of equipment is commonly referred to as a “Ticket Spitter”. The “Spitter” issues a ticket, usually for single vehicle access prior to activating the barrier arm gate mechanism causing the arm to raise. An alternative method to get the control arm raised requires a driver to reach out of the car and push a button to receive a parking lot access ticket from the “Spitter”. (In that mode of operation, it is probable that there is no magnetic loop in place.) In either case, once the ticket is taken by the driver, the “Spitter” sends a control signal to the gate arm mechanism, and the arm is supposed to raise, generally for a single vehicle to control access to the parking lot.

As the vehicle transitions from the approach location where the ticket is issued, once the control arm raises, there is usually a functioning magnetic flux or induction “Safety Loop” located under the control arm swing location which provides protection for a vehicle until it has cleared the “Zone of Danger” underneath the active arm. The control arm may also be kept in the open position by a timer that holds the gate arm up for a predetermined time prior to closing. Using a timer function in place of an in-ground magnetic loop is risky, as vehicles may not clear the opening, or another vehicle can attempt to gain access without receiving a usage ticket. Older, non-current standard compliant installations have been seen without any consistency of design or operational function.

There are multiple installation variables that can alter the basic loop positions and quantities, but most basic systems operate as described above using at least two control loops. One underneath the control arm, and one egress or approach loop. In some installations, all three loops will be present. This triple looped system offers the most comprehensive safety for a vehicle, NOT A PEDESTRIAN!

MANUAL VERSIONS OF PARKING LOT CONTROL ARMS

A parking lot attendant, usually positioned inside an adjacent booth, has a control switch that activates the parking arm. The attendant has a switch that raises the arm, lowers the arm, and keeps the arm inactive, either up or down. Some manually controlled arms also have magnetic induction loops connected to the parking lot control arm when the parking lot is unmanned after hours, in which case, the arm should function in the fully automatic mode, as described above.

BARRIER ARMS ARE WEIGHT ACTIVATED, RIGHT?

Contrary to popular belief, most are activated due to a change in a magnetic field which is generated by twisted energized wires positioned below the adjacent pavement of the control arm. Modern arms are not usually controlled by pneumatic pressure like an old-fashioned gas station bell hose. It is unlikely that the weight of a vehicle or a pedestrian walking underneath the arm will stop an active arm. Modern parking arms are triggered by a change in the magnetic induction loop return. Modern induction loops are manufactured from a relatively light gauge of wire, placed in a rectangular shape that is calibrated and sized to detect a change in the magnetic field when a metallic object such as a vehicle enters or covers that field.

Many attorneys insist to me during their initial call that a pedestrian walked next one and activated the arm due to their client’s weight, and the arm failed to remain open as they walked under the arm. This scenario is generally incorrect. Weight of a vehicle, or weight of a pedestrian cannot activate most modern parking control arms. A trigger of an arm or activation of a street traffic light due to weight has not been in practice for many years. It is highly unlikely that a pressure pad sensitive to weight is ever controlling a parking lot arm today.

UL 325/ASTM F2200

There are several standards that are used to design and install parking control/barrier arm devices. In the most basic sense, UL 325 (Underwriters Laboratories) in conjunction with ASTM F2200 (American Society of Testing Materials) as well as other trade organizations have compiled standards that are designed to make a control/barrier arm installation safe and user friendly. Most of the regulations that are referenced in these standards have been adopted and in common trade practice and usage since the year 2000. There are numerous revisions of these standards, and industry best practices for service providers and installers should be to bring any of these past installed products up to date with the latest revision of the standards for entrapment and function.

A UL 325 COMPLIANT INSTALLATION

A UL 325 compliant barrier arm or parking control arm installation requires several conditions to be met. The mechanism is generally installed atop a concrete island (not a UL requirement). All conduits and control circuits are routed into the base of the barrier arm mechanism through this elevated platform. This is not always the observed situation; however, it seems to be the most encountered condition as the elevated platform provides protection from vehicle impact for the arm housing. When this island is placed by a concrete contractor, it is the perfect time for the facility to install a dedicated pedestrian walkway.

This dedicated pedestrian walkway must be away from the “danger zone” of the active control arm. This dedicated pathway is one of the most important factors to having a UL 325 compliant installation. Another significant safety device required for a UL 325 compliant installation is blatant painted warnings on the pavement located adjacent to both sides (ingress and egress) of the control arm. For instance: “Not a Pedestrian Walkway” or “Motor Vehicles Only” along with bright stripes and designs to draw the attention of a pedestrian to indicate danger prior to coming into the “danger zone”. Signage is also required, on the arm itself, the cabinet that houses the activation equipment, and on a placard in front of the control arm equipment.

PEDESTRIAN SIGNAGE, NOT ALWAYS EFFECTIVE

I have observed for many years that pedestrians are often walking while distracted by their cell phones, other people they are engaged in conversation with, or low lighting conditions. Although a UL requirement for a compliant installation is having a warning sign placed in several areas adjacent to and attached to the control arm, that warning is often unseen for many reasons. Pedestrians often look to the location that they are planning to reach without seeing their immediate surroundings. When this occurs, any warning signage has no value to them. A sign that is attached to a vertically elevated arm is out of the field of view for a pedestrian in most cases so that warning label is ineffective. A distracted pedestrian is as likely to walk off a curb in front of oncoming traffic or walk under a raised parking control arm without realizing that the danger exists. Blatant pavement signage has also been ignored by distracted pedestrians focused on getting to where they want to go.

WHO IS AT FAULT?

There are a variety of cases where a parking lot barrier arm has malfunctioned due to a complete lack of maintenance awareness. Most manufacturers suggest they should be inspected and evaluated for function by a professional service provider at least once a year. This interval inspection routine is questionable in a parking area with high usage of the control arm. In a case of continual usage, a professional service provider should be in place to inspect the device every quarter. Usually, some malfunction occurs that requires professional visits more frequently than every 3 or 4 months in a high usage installation.

Sometimes property management or an owner employs a maintenance person to make repairs. This can be problematic, as that maintenance person may not have adequate skills or training as to how to properly inspect the functions of the control arm mechanism and related systems correctly. In other low usage areas, where the arm is either occasionally used, unused and left in an open condition, or there is minimal parking lot activity, property owners never get them serviced. They are unaware of the need for service, feel that the arm is operating correctly when it is used, or just do not want to expense the services of a professional due to budgetary constraints or an ignorance of how the device functions.

Most owners of parking control lot arms do not understand or have the skills to properly check all functions of the arm control mechanism. They may be capable of replacing a broken arm component when damaged by a vehicle, but rarely understand the actual electronic requirements. When a competent, qualified professional service provider is used to make proactive inspections of a parking control arm, there are numerous tests and electronic evaluations that are made with dedicated service equipment that the average equipment owner would not possess.

One of the most basic critical evaluations to ensure that a parking control arm is properly functioning involves checking the resistance capacity of the in-ground magnetic flux loops. These loops are one of the primary controls for avoiding vehicular/arm impact collisions. There is an electronic meter known as a “megohm meter” or “meggar” that checks the condition of the in-ground loop insulation material of all system loops. It measures millions of ohms of resistance by placing a signal onto the flux loop when tested. The unbroken condition of the insulation that is the outside coating of these in ground wires is essential to have a properly functioning flux loop.

Electrical leakage to the surrounding ground due to partial loss of the protective insulation creates false imaging to the controls of the parking arm equipment. The insulation of these flux wire loops has an expected life. This is due to corrosive aspects of the material that the wires are encased in. Concrete, asphalt, various cement, sands and gravel all have corrosive components to their chemical composition. These acids can affect the lifetime of the flux wire insulation. Depending upon how much water leaches through the pavement, these flux wires will eventually be exposed to chemicals that will break down the insulation protection that is required. When that insulation breakdown finally happens, the operation of the magnetic flux loop is inconsistent and often becomes a danger to vehicles of all kinds (cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, trailers, etc.) using the control arm.

Defective operation of parking lot control systems has been frequently observed following flooding due to driven rains or adjacent sprinkler systems. In several past cases, service providers and owners that failed to take critical tests to determine insulation quality of magnetic loops have been responsible for damage caused as a result of those unknown wire conditions. In some claims, the service provider was aware that the loops were not functioning up to specifications of the loop manufacturer yet failed to take any proactive action to have them replaced, or minimally alert the owner of the arm that the condition existed. To save money, some service providers fabricate their own loops for these installations. When that is the case, the service provider needs to regularly verify the condition of the loops to make certain that the performance is as required.

ADDING ADDITIONAL SAFETY FEATURES

It is usually a goal to make a product that is as safe as is possible for all users. The UL 325 standards attempt to keep current with technological advances but are not always up to date. Basic requirements as described above do make control arms reasonably safe, but there are additional safety devices that can be added to most parking control systems.

  • Cross threshold optical sensor beams. These beams function in the same way that a common residential automatic garage door bottom beam sensor works. They provide an additional protection to both vehicles and pedestrians as they stop the control arm from descending when the beam is obstructed. To be effective, they need to be properly positioned and in enough quantity.
  • Audible alarms are being installed to alert pedestrians and drivers in proximity to the control arm that it is about to descend.
  • Visible alarms that provide strobe or flashing light action alert pedestrians and drivers that the barrier arm is about to descend.
  • Contact safety switches attached to the bottom edge of a parking control arm cause the descending arm to reverse when 10 pounds of force from an obstruction occurs.

These added safety devices are not part of any standard requirement but are relatively inexpensive to add to a control arm system and tend to be more effective in warning pedestrians that something is about to happen. Both alarms begin working a few seconds before any activation movement of the arm starts. A properly positioned beam or beams can be effective in stopping the descent of a control arm when a pedestrian is obstructing the beam but is not fully reliable due to user interactions. It is best practice to avoid having any pedestrian walk under the pathway of a control arm.

THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING THE ACTIVE CONDITION OF ALL MAGNETIC LOOPS

Many motorcycle injuries from parking arms have occurred as a direct result of magnetic loop degeneration. Properly operating control loops should have enough sensitivity to “notice” most metallic objects. I have been able to test magnetic fields for gates and control arms using a one-foot square piece of sheet steel with positive results that have activated the devices. Cars and trucks obviously have larger footprints than a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle, but if the loops are sensitive enough and the module that controls those loops is properly adjusted, it is not unreasonable to get a big enough change in the magnetic field to trigger the operator mechanism. Unless there are specific access and egress points for motorcycles and other two wheeled conveyances, most riders will expect that a control arm will react to their rides. It is critically important to have competent professional service providers evaluate control arm systems on a regular basis. Changes to sensitivity of the magnetic fields that can occur suddenly create problems resulting in cosmetic damage to cars but can cause catastrophic dangerous conditions for two wheeled vehicles. Motorcycle accidents with barrier arms are particularly dangerous when the safety loops that are positioned under the control arm fail or work intermittently. A rider will gain access, the arm will lift, and without warning it will descend into the face or on top of the head of the rider leading to potentially severe injuries. It is a reasonable expectation on the part of a motorcycle operator that the arm will remain open and the in-ground loops will detect the presence of a motorcycle. Dangerous conditions that exist as a result of deferred or non-existent maintenance of parking control arms have created many motorcycle rider impact injury claims.

VARIETY OF OBLIGATIONS ON ALL PARTIES

THE OWNERS OBLIGATIONS

When there is no proactive maintenance of any device or piece of equipment in a facility the owner is negligent for failing to make the effort to ensure that the property will be safe for all invitees. Failing to employ competent professional service providers due to cost, ignorance, laziness or stupidity is negligent. Having properly maintained and properly operating equipment is responsible and meets the standard of care expected of an owner that invites the public on to the property. Having a proactive plan to provide inspections and maintenance of all equipment is responsible and diligent. If the professional service provider has not met the standard of care, the owner may ultimately have the responsibility for the defective condition of the control arm. Whether or not there is an indemnification policy between the service provider and owner can determine who is financially responsible for the injury claim. If the owner has been informed of operational or functional deficiencies by others and has refused to upgrade or make the control arm standard compliant, it is more probable than not that the owner will become a responsible party.

A SERVICE PROVIDERS OBLIGATIONS

If a professional service provider does not make the property owner aware of changes in standards or advise the owner of possible safety upgrades, that professional is not acting up to industry expectations. The service provider is also not taking the opportunity for increased sales revenues derived from making those suggestions. If a service provider has offered limited services to an owner (such as an on-call / as-needed basis), it is hard to place the blame on the service provider that was just providing specific work. It is still recommended that all deficiencies in an operating barrier arm system be identified, specified, and described so that the service provider can transfer the liability onto the owner of the now non-compliant control arm.

When a professional service provider installs a parking control arm in a non-compliant installation (for example there is no dedicated walkway or signage), the obligations for that deficiency depend upon the communication and working relationship with the owner of the property. There are several different scenarios that determine the responsible parties for the non-compliant conditions.

  • Was the service provider only called upon to install a specific product?
  • Was the service provider limited by the owner of the property to only do a specified job?
  • Did the service provider make the owner aware of the deficiencies of the installation prior to, during or after the work was performed?
  • Did the service provider attempt to make the installation current standard compliant, but was told not to?
  • What portion of the installation was the service provider involved with? For example, the service provider was contracted by a general contractor and told to specifically provide a portion of the products required to make the installation compliant. The representations made by the general contractor was that the general would place all signs when the project was turned over to the owner, the general would have appropriate pavement warnings painted and placed when the paving was completed, and the general would install a dedicated walk way for pedestrians at a later date.

If the service provider acted in a trade appropriate manner, fulfilled all duties and obligations informing the owner or management of the non-compliant conditions encountered, that service provider has met the industry standard of care. In that case, the service provider is not responsible for a non- compliant control arm installation.

PEDESTRIANS INVOLVED IN A PARKING CONTROL ARM INJURY

WHAT WERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES?

This condition has been seen so many times that multiple injuries were caused in the exact same way. In several past claims, a pedestrian was essentially forced to walk under a parking control arm because there was no other way to exit the lot or garage space. There was no dedicated pedestrian walkway, no openings in a fence, no indicated paths for people to exit, no special stairways or other means of egress, and in those cases, the control arm was unavoidable. In other claims, a remotely operated control arm, that was activated by a guard in an adjacent hut came down upon several pedestrians due to the guard being careless. The gate was routinely in an upright position, the guard never meant to have the gate close upon the pedestrians, yet the injury took place as a direct result of the guard’s negligence.

ACTUAL CASES OF PEDESTRIANS BEING STRUCK BY PARKING CONTROL ARMS

A group of pedestrians walking into a concert venue walked under a control arm, which came down just as they walked under it. There was plenty of space on either side of the control arm, but there was no signage or painted warnings on the pavement showing where the arm could come down.

A pedestrian going to work in a hospital, caused her own injury. She watched as a car went through the control arm entry point and did not realize that the gate would close upon her. In her deposition statements she said she thought that the arm would stay up because she had seen other people walk through the same opening in the past without the arm descending. There was a dedicated walkway a few feet away from where this incident occurred, going through the vehicle path was a shortcut that saved a few steps and caused her major injury.

Tenant of an apartment complex gets hit with control arm gate after helping a neighbor gain access when the neighbor had forgotten her card key access pass. The injured party stood adjacent to the control arm, swiped her access card, watched her friend drive through the opening and then without thought proceeded into the lot following the car. Once the car cleared the magnetic loops, the arm descended as designed, only it struck the tenant, knocking her out only seconds after her good deed.

INTENDED USE OF CONTROL ARMS

Control arms are designed for restricting the flow of vehicles into or out of a location that desires regulation of traffic. The equipment functions based upon activation signals received as described above. Access points that have control arms are not intended for pedestrian traffic at any time. While most vehicles are metallic, most pedestrians are non-metallic. The machines that operate these control arms are dumb robots without any capabilities of intervention in the event of a non- conforming use. A pedestrian attempting to walk through a parking control arm location is a non- conforming use, and there must be some common sense exercised when assessing an interaction with any robotic machine.

PROPERTY OWNER OR PROPERTY MANAGER RESPONSIBILITIES

All owners that have public, commercial, or residential community properties can expect usage by thousands of different people. If proactive maintenance and evaluation of the location setting as well as the condition of the equipment that people interact with is made routinely, an owner can take the needed steps to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. An owner should enlist the services of qualified and competent service providers to make certain that all access control arms are properly functioning, and the site is totally compliant. If an owner takes responsibility and hires professional service providers to make a property fully compliant, that owner has met his obligations to all invitees of the property. Failing to proactively evaluate a potentially dangerous condition is negligent. Maintenance saves money in the long run. Keeping equipment of all kinds in good condition is responsible and indicates good ownership. Safety to all invitees should be of prime importance to a concerned owner.

TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Magnetic induction flux loop: A wire of specific size and design placed below the pavement surface to create a magnetic field which is altered when a metal object (vehicle) is in proximity or on top of the wire field.

Ticket Spitter: A printing device used to dispense parking tickets to patrons of a parking lot. Manual (push button by user) or automatic (triggered by presence of vehicle on top of magnetic loop in ground), records date and time of entry onto a paper ticket and then when removed from the slot activates a control arm mechanism to gain access into the lot.

Control arm device: All electronic and mechanical equipment combined to allow a gate arm to raise and lower.

Approach loop: Magnetic loop placed in ground to trigger activation of a control device.

Safety Loop: Magnetic loop placed directly under the path of a parking control arm to protect vehicles from impact by a descending gate arm when the zone is occupied by a vehicle.

Egress loop: Magnetic loop placed in ground to hold a control device in the open position until the area can be cleared. Usually in place in high traffic or cross traffic locations.

Megohm meter (Megger): An electronic meter designed to determine resistance in millions of ohms, relevant to this article, checking for leakage due to the breaking down of insulation on in ground magnetic flux loop wires used to control parking control arm actions.

Zone of Danger: The area immediately under the path of a descending parking control arm and any immediate area where a pedestrian could be struck by a descending arm without notice.

SUMMARY

Parking Control arm injuries occur frequently. These injuries are often the result of a deferred or non-standard installation or maintenance protocol. They occur equally to standard compliant installations when pedestrians just do not pay enough attention to their surroundings.

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Choosing The Right LED Or Reflective Film Enabled Traffic Signs

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We must all have seen many traffic signs on the roads when we commute to work every day. These signs include directions, warnings, alerts, caution about danger zones and just about every other information that will let you know if you can travel in that route or not. When you want to buy traffic signs for your property or commercial/residential establishment, you have to watch out for a lot of things. The first one would be visibility. What purpose would it fulfil if you install a traffic sign that cannot be read by all? Next, you need to decide on the materials that will make your sign look brighter. LED bulbs, with their great energy saving capacity and high efficiency, are one of the first choices of owners these days. You could also print your traffic signs on huge reflective films and get them stuck on hoardings in key areas. Here are a few points that you need to keep in mind when you choose these traffic signs.

Reflective films

When you are looking for a perfect traffic sign printing solution, you need to be clear on the answers to the following concepts:

a. How do you plan to use your traffic signs and would you like to specialise in a core traffic-regulated market? Are you looking to print only traffic signs or other things as well?

b. What should would you like your sign to be printed on? Do you want a mix of printing that will enable printing on sheets and rolls or do you want only one of those?

c. What kind of reflective film would you need to print your sign on? How much of ink adhesion are you looking at?

LED Signs

LED Traffic Signs are quite powerful and are very durable as well. These signs have great visibility and can be used to denote various alerts for road users. If you are looking for a LED-powered traffic signboard, you need to be aware of the following concepts:

a. How many LEDs are required in a sign? You should know that when you use more LEDs, the number of pixels in your sign goes up and increases the visibility of your sign from a long distance. When you choose lesser number of LEDs for your signs, they become weak and non-comprehendible.

b. From how far would the signs be viewed by the road users? This is an important point to remember because, if your signs are located close to the traffic, they will be viewed from a very close distance. Hence, you don’t have to invest in lots of pixels to make your sign huge and bright.

How much should be the ideal budget for this? LED bulbs consume very little energy and have a long life. This makes them costlier than the other fluorescent bulbs. Therefore, it is highly recommended to spend judiciously and invest on these signs only after clearly assessing the viewing angles, so that you don’t waste money on a sign that could have been in a smaller and cheaper way.

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5 Major Types of Accidents You Can Claim Compensation For

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The myth that you are safe once away from the accident prone zone such as road or industry is proved when even the most innocent looking circumstances become the reason for the unforeseen accidents. Here are the 5 major types of accidents which might lead to claim for a compensation.

Workplace accidents

Accidents well never forewarn you. Workplaces are deceptive places which however seemingly safe, are the locations for maximum number of accidents reported in the UK. Workplace accidents can be simple burns, cuts or lacerations and sometimes even fatal.

It is mandatory that your employer gives you protection against these through employee’s insurance. However, while claiming accident compensation the insurance company will pay you the insurance money along with the damages incurred by you.

Usually personal injuries that are seen in workplace accidents are slip, trip and fall, which might lead to back, neck and head injuries, cuts and lacerations. Repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, vibrations to body parts, etc. are common in ergonomically uncomfortable workplaces.

Road and vehicular accidents

Road accidents while on job are common for those who are in sales or delivery jobs. This causes injuries such as whiplash, neck injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of body parts, loss of hearing, loss of eye sight and in worst cases, death.

In road accidents, it is best to talk to a accident lawyer before making any claim. There might be twists and turns of the laws that you might not be aware of when to comes to road accidents. Since the company is no way involved in this and this seems to have happened away from the factory of office premises, there might be legal implications that you need to clear. Also, talking directly with the insurers without any of this knowledge will only create trouble for you. you might even lose potential chunk of the compensation.

Diseases

Contracting diseases due to workplace chemicals or agents is another serious condition that takes many years to detect and requires high amount of compensation. Most of these cases end up in permanent damage or death. They involve changing of jobs which is very stressful for most people.

Faulty product and machinery

Accidents due to faulty machines and products are less, but not uncommon. People get allergies from products, burns from faulty electronics and many more. The product manufacturer is guilty and can be charged for compensation for the loss. Letting an expert lawyer do this will be of less headache to you.

Sports injury

Most neglected topic is sports injuries. This is not just for the sports stars, but also for aspirants who train hard and meet with accidents that ends up ruining their career in sports. Broken arms, legs, ligament tears all are claimable.

Hire proper accident injury compensation lawyers to win your case claim compensation.

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Increasing Asbestos Awareness And Reducing Exposure Risk With Notifiable Non-Licensable Work

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate that there are still some four million properties around the UK, which are likely to contain hidden asbestos materials, and often encountered in a friable ( fragile and disintegrating) condition. Any attempt to remove can result in fibres becoming airborne and inhaled by anyone in close proximity, from home owner or tenant, company employee to public visitors, as well as building and demolition workers.

It is frequently reported that still far too many firms seem to possess little or no asbestos awareness or training to correctly deal with the potential health risks. To minimise time and costs, the health and safety procedures are often simply ignored when existing building materials found to contain asbestos (ACMs) are dismantled and disposed of alongside standard building waste.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, which came into force on the 6th April, updates previous asbestos regulations by implementing EU Directive 2009/148/EC, and targets changes at around three quarters of a million workers in companies involved with non-licensable asbestos work. From now on, the “Non-Licensable” category of asbestos work will be divided into two with an additional category, to be known as “Notifiable Non-Licensable Work” (NNLW).

According to the HSE, ” All non-licensed work is required to be carried out with the appropriate controls in place. Employers will also have an obligation for notifiable non-licensed work (NNLW)”, which means they must:

  • Notify work with asbestos to the relevant enforcing authority.
  • Ensure medical examinations are carried out.
  • Maintain registers of work (health records).

The process involves specifying whether a type of asbestos work is either licensable, NNLW or non-licensed work in each case. To do this, a risk assessment must be carried out first to identify the type of asbestos-containing material (ACM) and an evaluation of its condition.

If the work is exempt from the need for a licence, it must be then determined if it is notifiable non-licensed work or just non-licensed work. The HSE advise that the key factors to consider are based on the type of work planned, whether maintenance, removal, encapsulation, or air monitoring and the collection and analysis of asbestos samples.

Identifying asbestos type is crucial. Although the most toxic forms were banned from use in 1985, white chrysotile asbestos fibres continued to be incorporated into a variety of building materials, including insulation wallboard (AIB), cement roofing, surface coatings and sprayed insulation, tiles and soffits, infill and adhesive tapes, etc. An import ban on chrysotile in 1999 was followed by a full ban in 2005. However, it must be assumed that any property built or renovated at any time until the end of the twentieth century has to be suspected of containing asbestos material.

Asbestos found in a fragile, friable condition is particularly prone to release fibres and is liable to be designated NNLW while work which disturbs the least friable materials e.g. asbestos cement can normally be treated as non-licensed work. Encapsulated asbestos, such as cement, paint or plastic, which are considered to be firmly bonded in a matrix, are more likely to be found in good condition and can usually be treated as non-licensed work.

The ever present risk is the disturbance and breathing in of asbestos fibres. Once ingested they embed in the lung linings and can eventually cause asbestosis disease or form the deadly incurable tumours of mesothelioma cancer.

A long gestation period of between 15 to 50 years is known to elapse before the first asbestosis symptoms appear, by which time, the disease may have spread to adjacent tissues or organs. A patient’s survival rate after a conformed diagnosis can be less than 6 months.

Under the requirements of the NNLW, the HSE requires ” brief written records should be kept of non-licensed work, which has to be notified, e.g. copy of the notification with a list of workers present on-site, plus the level of likely exposure of those workers to asbestos”.

By April 2015, each and every worker who is exposed to asbestos must be under medical “surveillance” every three years. The employer must maintain a register for each worker, which records the type and duration of work carried out with asbestos and is to be retained for at least 40 years along with copies of all medical reports.

The HSE state that ” Workers who are already under health surveillance for licensed work need not have another medical examination for non-licensed work but medicals for notifiable non-licensed work are not acceptable for those doing licensed work”.

With more than 1.8 million people annually exposed each year to asbestos and at least 2,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed annually, the new Regulations are an attempt to reduce disregard for health and safety on property renovations when there is still a potential hazard from exposure to asbestos.

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WSIB – The Importance of Knowing Your Rights If You Have a Asbestos-Related Disease

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Are the rates of asbestos disease increasing in the U.S? The answer is definitely yes.

Asbestos-related diseases are increasing in the United States and in some other countries, and this is because asbestos workers were exposed to this mineral, which is the main risk factor for developing the disease. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) helps you to find out if you are entitled to compensation if you worked and were exposed to asbestos.

This is important, because when you are sick you do not have time to think of your disease causes, since you never thought of being ill with pain and even with so much danger to your health.

In Ontario, Canada, exists a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) that oversees your state’s workplace safety education and training system, provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of health care, and assists in early and safe return to work.

The most exposed workers to the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease are power plant workers, asbestos and talc miners, shipyard workers, auto break mechanics, demolition workers, pipe fitters, insulation workers, boilermakers and workers who make products which contain asbestos, such as firebricks, fire-retardant paint and asbestos cement.

The most common asbestos-related diseases are asbestosis, mesothelioma, benign pleural diseases, pleural plaques and lung cancer.

A cure does not exist for most of the above mentioned diseases, but there are treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, as for other types of cancer pathologies. There are also different ways of prevention the high risk of inhaling asbestos fibers when you work with this material.

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Mexican Tourist Auto Insurance – Tips on How to Purchase Insurance For Mexico

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Congratulations – you are embarking on an exciting road trip adventure to Mexico. You have your vehicle tuned and all of your gear packed, and now it is time to purchase your Mexican tourist auto insurance. Your Mexican auto insurance coverage decision could be the most important decision you make, but unfortunately it is often one of the most rushed and least researched decisions that many Mexico travelers make. Do not make the mistake of assuming that all Mexican insurance is the same, because the differences in insurance coverages and benefits can vary tremendously between Mexico insurance companies. Even though researching insurance coverage is not very exciting for most people, this article will show you how 5 to 10 minutes of research on the internet could save you thousands of dollars and many frustrating hours if you were to actually need to use your Mexico insurance to pay for a loss.

Use the internet to quote and purchase Mexican tourist auto insurance

The vast majority of Mexican auto insurance is now purchased directly from the internet. There are a number of websites that sell Mexico insurance, and buying your insurance from the internet makes a lot of sense for the customer. Would you rather wait till the last minute to buy your insurance at the border, or would you prefer to buy your insurance from the convenience of your own computer before you leave on your trip to Mexico? Most customers prefer to get their insurance taken care of ahead of time.

The best websites to buy your Mexico insurance from are ones that offer multiple Mexico insurance companies. This allows you to do comparison shopping through one website instead of filling out multiple quotation forms on multiple websites. One good Mexican insurance website with a comparison insurance rater will save you a lot of time and confusion.

Which websites can be trusted?

Before getting your insurance quote, make sure to look for a valid insurance license and contact information. Also, you may want to look for a ‘Surplus Lines Broker’ license number. A surplus lines broker is an insurance broker who has a direct contract with the Mexican insurance companies and is licensed to sell foreign insurance coverage within the United States. A surplus lines broker license is a good sign that the website is run by a company who specializes in Mexico insurance. If the insurance license is not a surplus lines broker license, this means the website is most likely run by an insurance agent who is selling through a surplus lines broker. This does not mean the products on the website are not valid, but you may not receive the same level of customer service as you would from a surplus lines broker who specializes entirely in Mexican insurance. You may also want to look for a Better Business Bureau listing and some sort of internet security approval such as Hacker Safe or McAfee Secure to ensure that your information will be secure during your internet transaction.

Mexico insurance coverage to look for

Once you have selected a website that sells Mexico tourist auto insurance, you will fill out the quick insurance quote form. Within a minute, you should be able to get a firm quote and begin researching the benefits of the insurance products offered. Remember, this will be a much quicker and streamlined process if you use a website that offers multiple competing insurance companies all under one quoting system (a comparative quote rater).

Look for a chart below or above the insurance prices that clearly explains exactly what the Mexico insurance limits are and what is actually covered. In this chart, you will want to look at the following categories:

Deductibles: The best Mexican insurance policies will offer fixed deductibles, meaning the deductibles will be locked at a set amount regardless of what the value of your vehicle is. Some of the less expensive policies will base deductibles on a percentage of the vehicle value. If the vehicle’s value is less than $20,000, percentage based deductibles may be fine, but when vehicle values get up in the $30,000 range or higher, the percentage based deductibles can get very high. If the website does not specifically list the deductibles, you should not use that website!

US Hourly Labor Rates for Repairs Made in the US or Canada: In the old days, most Mexican auto insurance companies tried to make customers repair their vehicles in Mexico. Repairs made in Mexico instead of the US were often much less expensive for the Mexican insurance companies, and many customers were unwilling to leave their car in Mexico, so the company got out of paying these claims. Today, many of the better Mexico insurance programs allow you to fix your vehicle in the US or Canada if you wish. The catch is that some of the less expensive Mexican insurance programs will only pay a limited hourly labor rate for repairs made in the US (some as low a $20 per hour). This means the customer would have to pay the difference in hourly labor rates out of their pocket. The best Mexican insurance programs will pay very high US labor rates such as $70 per hour or state that they will pay whatever the current US hourly labor rate is. These policies could significantly minimize your out of pocket expenses in the event of a claim. If the Mexico insurance website does not specify if repairs in the US are allowed or what the hourly labor rate is, do not use that website to purchase your Mexican insurance!

Vandalism and Partial Theft Coverage: Vandalism and partial theft (meaning only part of the car is stolen such as the tires, door panels, etc) is typically not covered by standard Mexican auto insurance. In the past few years the higher quality Mexican insurance programs have started to offer this coverage in their enhanced coverage programs. If you want to protect yourself against as many types of losses as possible, you should look for this coverage.

Liability Limits: This is the portion of the Mexican insurance policy that pays for damages you cause to third parties. This coverage is essential when traveling in Mexico. Most people in the industry feel that $50,000 worth of liability insurance is probably the minimum you should consider. Some of the best Mexican insurance programs will go up to $300,000 combined single limit (a lump sum for property damage or bodily injury damages), but it will also increase the insurance premium. Some customers wish to carry these higher limits to work in tandem with their US umbrella liability policies. You may want to ask your US insurance provider if your umbrella insurance will recognize your Mexico auto insurance as a primary coverage.

Medical Payments: This is the portion of the Mexico insurance policy that pays for medical costs for you and your passengers (people inside your vehicle). $2,000 per person with a total of $10,000 per accident is the lowest limit you should consider, but many policies will offer much higher limits. Some of the better policies will also increase this amount if you are hit by an uninsured motorist who is at fault. You may want to check with your US or Canadian health insurance provider to make sure they will cover you for medical costs incurred while traveling in Mexico. If not, you may also want to research an international health insurance plan – but that is a different subject.

Legal Service: Make sure your Mexico insurance includes legal service or legal assistance. This coverage will pay for any court costs, attorney fees, or bail payments that are a result of a traffic accident in Mexico. The service will also dispatch a legal representative to hold your hand through any legal procedures. This coverage is absolutely essential, so do not purchase any Mexico auto insurance that does not include this coverage!

Road Assistance: Most of the better Mexico insurance companies will include some level of road assistance that will cover towing expenses, flat tires, locksmith, and other services. This is a great coverage to have, so make sure this is included with your Mexico insurance policy.

Medical Evacuation: As the market for Mexican insurance becomes more competitive, many Mexico carriers are now bundling in extra special coverages to make their products stand out. When medical evacuation is automatically included with your Mexico auto insurance, it is an incredible value and convenience. This coverage will coordinate and pay for air or land ambulance services in the event of ‘grave illness or injury’. This means life threatening or very serious illnesses or injuries. Purchasing a medical evacuation program on your own will often cost hundreds of dollars per year, and can often have many limitations. The quality Mexico auto insurance programs that bundle in the medical evacuation coverage will usually cover multiple people in your travel group automatically up to four or more people. Make sure to look for how many people are covered by the medical evacuation. If the amount of people covered is not listed in the insurance quote details, you can assume that the medical evacuation may only cover the driver. Other websites do exist that specifically cover 4 or more people in your travel group, so it is highly recommended that you look for websites that offer this broader medical evacuation coverage.

Plane Tickets Home: Another great benefit that many of the better Mexico insurance websites are offering is plane tickets home in the event that your car is stolen or not drivable. This can save you thousands of dollars, and alleviate the nightmare of needing to coordinate your transportation back to your home from Mexico. If this benefit is offered, make sure to see for how many people the policy will provide plane tickets home. If plane tickets home is not listed, or the website does not specify how many people are covered, you should check a different website. A few websites do offer coverage for four people or more in your travel group.

When in doubt, call the website customer service phone line for help

The reputable Mexico insurance websites will encourage you to call their customer service departments if you have questions about the Mexico insurance. If nobody answers the phone, or does not call you back within a few minutes (during normal business hours), you may not want to purchase your insurance from that website! Most Mexico insurance websites are like ATM machines. The website is there for your convenience if you want to write the policy yourself, but you are also welcome to call the website customer service insurance agents and have the agents write the policy for you over the phone.

If you check for each of these insurance coverages and website features while shopping for Mexican auto insurance on the internet, you are guaranteed to purchase the best insurance for your situation. Five to ten minutes of research could save you thousands of dollars and hours, if not weeks, of headaches in the event that you need to file a Mexican insurance claim. Be safe, and have fun in Mexico!

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Information About Hip and Pelvis Injury Compensation

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The hip is a joint that connects our upper leg bones to our pelvis, giving us mobility. Our hip and pelvic bones are constantly at work for us, even when we are sleeping. Whether managing your everyday responsibilities or relaxing after they’re done, your hips are always playing a role in what you are doing with your body. They are a major component to your body’s overall stability, comfort, and physical capabilities. This explains why injuries to these areas are often very inconvenient and extremely painful.

Although most common in elderly patients, young to middle-aged adults and children can also be at risk for pelvic and hip injuries if they are involved in a serious accident. The most common types of accidents that cause severe pelvis and hip injuries include motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and even bicycle accidents. When a person is injured in such an accident as a result of another person’s carelessness, they are likely eligible for legal compensation. At this time, it would be in their best interest to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer for help with filing a claim against a wrongful party. They will develop an impactful case to profile the type of injuries their client suffered, and how it has negatively affected their overall health and quality of life. This will be the foundation of determining the amount of compensation that should be paid to the victim for their losses and damages.

Types of Pelvic Injuries

There are several types of hip and pelvic injuries, all of which are generally accompanied by muscle bruising and ligament sprains as well. They are all extremely painful, and can restrict a person’s mobility for months on end depending on the severity of the damage. Here are some of the most common hip and pelvic injuries seen as a result of negligent accidents:

Dislocations

Hip dislocations occur when an impact causes the ball-shaped head of the femur bone to come out of the cup-shaped acetabulum set in the pelvis. They are a very common injury among slip and fall victims, and victims of traffic accidents. It is unimaginably painful, and renders a victim immobile instantly. It can also cause nerve damage, resulting in numbness of the leg, foot, and ankle.

Hip Sprains

Hip sprains are serious muscle tears in the ligaments that support the hip joint. They occur when the ligaments are stretched past their limit and tear. This type of injury is tremendously painful, and can also result in bruising and swelling of the hip and pelvic area. It can take several weeks to heal, during which mobility is mostly restricted. Slip, trip, and fall accidents are common causes of hip sprains, but they also occur regularly in vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.

Pelvic Fractures

Pelvic fractures are among the most serious hip and pelvis injuries a person can sustain. This is because they have the potential to seriously change a person’s life forever. Some pelvic fractures comes with life-long consequences, or permanent complications. If the injuries are not permanent, they are still extraordinarily painful and are accompanied with months, or even years, of rehabilitation and healing. Painful physical therapy, loss of mobility, long-term medical care, and more are just a few circumstances a patient will face after fracturing their hip. Since the reproductive organs are in this area, more serious pelvis fractures can cause infertility, impotence, and sterility.

Hip Bursitis

One of the most common causes for hip pain, hip Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between muscle tissues by providing a gliding surface. Although most cases can be treated at home with proper care and pain medication, they are very painful and can takes weeks or months to heal completely.

If you or someone you love has recently suffered a pelvic or hip injury as a result of a serious accident, call a licensed personal injury attorney to file a no-risk, no-fee claim. They have the proper resources and knowledge to effectively navigate your case and recover the fair amount of compensation you deserve.

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8 Arguments Adjusters Use to Damage Your Car Wreck Case

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Auto insurance companies use all types of arguments and tactics to avoid paying claims. The following list contains arguments commonly used by insurance adjusters who want to pay you little or nothing for your injuries and other damages.

The insurance company may try to argue that:

1. Your vehicle was the cause of the wreck, due to bald tires, faulty brakes, or tail lights not working. (You need to check to make sure if it’s true or not. The adjustor might just be making it up.)

2. You had “warning of the danger” within enough time to have avoided the accident if only you had been paying attention. (State laws vary. Find out if this is a valid defense.)

3. You could have avoided the accident if you had not been going “too fast for conditions”. (This is one that adjustors throw around very often.)

4. You made an unnecessary and unexpected stop. (Usually bogus. It’s the person following who has the duty to keep a safe distance.)

5. You made a sudden and unsafe lane change without warning. (Is there any proof of this? Or just a red herring?)

6. You gave no “stop” or “turn” signal. (You know if you did or not. Do not be bullied!)

7. There are supposedly no “independent witnesses” who can be found to substantiate your version of what happened. (That’s their tough luck. Your testimony can prove what happened, all by itself.)

8. There are supposedly witnesses the insurance company knows about, who dispute your version of the facts or substantiate the wrongdoer’s version. (Fine, demand that they give you copies of the witness statements. Oftentimes, such statements don’t exist.)

YOU GET THE PICTURE… AND THERE ARE HUNDREDS MORE!

The Insurance Adjuster considers it their job to seek out and find as many defenses and arguments as possible against you in your case. The Adjuster will question you carefully, and NOT always fairly! It all starts when the Adjuster “Just wants to take your statement”. Do NOT give the insurance company a statement until AFTER you talk to an attorney.

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Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Law Firm

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When an individual faces potential legal action, it is necessary to call upon a trained attorney. However, finding the best law firm is not a simple task of looking one up in the phonebook. Getting the best legal representation will take a little effort. Understanding what to look for and what questions to ask will help narrow down your choices.

Ask Friends and Family

The first and best place to start a search for the best legal representation to suit your personal needs is to talk to friends and family. However, before meeting with an attorney, even one that is recommended, make sure you have an understanding of why this professional has been recommended. Find out what they did for the person making the recommendation and why they would be the best choice for you.

Come to the Attorney Meeting Prepared

When visiting a prospective law firm, it is important to come fully prepared. Copy all documents and reports pertaining to your legal representation needs and bring them to the first meeting. These materials should include all documents relating to your specific case, such as bills, medical records, witness accounts, other contact information, as well as, law enforcement reports. Be prepared to describe your situation in clear terms that will allow the law firm to respond in a way that will help you decide if this is the best legal representation for you.

To Help Make a Decision Ask Questions

Before meeting with a law firm or attorney write down some questions that will help you gather the information you need to make a decision including:

  • How long has the firm or attorney practiced this particular type of law?
  • How experienced is the lawyer assigned to your case?
  • How does the attorney or law firm believe your situation needs to be handled?
  • What will be your participation in the case?
  • What kind of communication will there be?
  • Will a fee agreement detailed all expenses, billing and payment arrangements?

Conduct a Self-Evaluation After Meeting a Law Firm or Attorney

  • After meeting an attorney or firm, it is time to ask yourself some questions about hiring legal representation, such as:
  • How comfortable do you feel working closely with this firm or attorney?
  • What is your level of confidence concerning the experience and skill level that will be handling your case?
  • Do you understand the lawyer’s explanation about the situation and all that it legally involves?
  • Did the law firm or attorney take the proper amount of time to examine the documents you presented?
  • Do you have a good understanding of the fee agreement?

It may take several meetings with various law firms in order to make a decision about which one would provide the best legal representation. However, it is important not to rush into selecting a law firm or attorney, as the outcome of the case will largely depend on this factor.

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Los Angeles Personal Injury Settlements

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Minor claims for personal injuries in Los Angeles may take about six months to reach a conclusion. Where severe injuries are involved, the time required for resolution is likely to be two years or more. The cost of litigation to the insurance company is much more than it is to the plaintiff (the victim who files the claim).

In most personal injury cases the insurance adjustor makes an initial offer and tries to settle quickly. If that effort fails, the company gets down to negotiating. It is an art, but time-consuming. If a seasoned lawyer is appearing for the victim, he is sure to obtain a good settlement, provided all the details furnished to him are correct. The services of insurance company adjustors turned settlement counselors are obtainable. They know all the ropes. Also available are online tools and software to help the plaintiff.

From time to time the lawyer will keep the client informed about the progress of the negotiations, and also his recommendation when the final offer from the insurance company is received. It is for the client to accept or reject. The details of the proposal should be studied, and doubts clarified with the lawyer. If a settlement is accepted, the insurance company could be instructed to pay the lawyer and the medical bills directly. Sometimes the lawyer might accept the offer without referring to the client. This is improper, and the client could protest. Normally the insurance company issues the settlement check jointly in favor of the client and the lawyer.

There is a system known as ‘structured settlement,’ which is gaining popularity. Here the settlement money is paid over a period of time. It offers many initial options, and the money is kept in funds that allow it to grow. The recipient must make sure that the fund is a protected one. Once the structured settlement plan is accepted, it may not be possible to change the terms.

Settlement payments are tax-free. But if that money is invested, the income thereof could be taxable. Structured settlements offer better tax benefits. This is a matter to be discussed with a tax consultant.

If a minor is involved in a settlement, there could be complications. Court approval may be necessary.

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Fatal Car Accident Lawyers

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An increase in the number of cars operating on the roads has led to a tremendous increase in the number of car accidents also. In the midst of such unwanted events, lawsuits and criminal charges are bound to arise. As accidents are events having legal consequences, the role of a lawyer is that of great importance.

Fatal car accident lawyers exist to help a person file or defend a lawsuit. A car accident lawyer provides the offenders or car accident victims with information regarding the numerous practical and legal aspects of personal injury law and car accident claims. It is a fact that almost every person on an average is involved in at least one car accident in his lifetime.

Lawyers play an extremely important role in fatal car accidents. In such accidents, law may charge the offenders strictly. It is the duty of the lawyer to represent his client in court. By using legal expertise, a lawyer tries to avoid or minimize the penalties awarded by the court of law. In a fatal car accident they may also be required to defend a lawsuit. Contrary to this, lawyers may also be hired by the victims in order to claim compensations for the damages. This compensation is obtained by filing a lawsuit against the offending party. In case of a fatal car accident, it is the duty of the lawyer to preside over the details of the lawsuit. In the United States, lawyers play the role of counseling their clients regarding their rights, and argue in favor of the best interests of their clients.

In case of fatal car accidents the extent of the damages and injuries involved tend to be comparatively high, as a lot of legal requirements need to be complied with. A car accident lawyer is capable of effectively dealing with law authorities and insurance companies. Car accident lawyers have made handling a fatal car accident less complicated for people who are ignorant and unaware of any legality. Hiring a lawyer proves to be critical in ensuring that legal rights of the parties in the accident are protected.

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