Limiting Iowa workplace deaths

Iowa has a work-related problem. It isn’t the employment rate or the minimum wage, it’s something far more serious: it’s the number of work-related deaths that occur in this state.

Every year, 5,500 people die from work-related injuries.

Those deaths can come from all manner of activities. In construction, one of the most deadly industries, the most common deaths are those that come from falls. That makes up 38.8% of deaths nationally. Other major risk factors are being struck by an object (that’s 9.6%), electrocution (8.6%), and (a particularly upsetting thought) being caught in or between objects (7.2%).

Many workplace deaths are simply a matter of employers not securing the workplace well enough. These may not all apply to every workplace, but it is worth noting some here so that all can be sure to keep standards high and watch out for any workspace that does meet the most rigorous standards.

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, lists ten areas that are particularly dangerous in industry. Again, some of these can apply more broadly to any workplace, so please read through the list and consider the implications for different workplaces you may be associated with.

For the convenience of the reader, the list has been condensed to seven points here, but everyone is encouraged to read through the whole list on the OSHA website.

  1. A lack of fall protection. This seems obvious since falls are such a major concern when it comes to deaths in the workplace.
  2. Communicating amongst coworkers about hazardous locations.
  3. Scaffolding problems. This is obviously construction-oriented, but keeping anything like ladders that might be around in safe places and safe working order is still important. Ladders, in fact, are listed directly at number 7 on the list.
  4. Respiratory protection. This may seem industry focused again, but if there are people painting or using any sort of chemicals in an office, this could also apply there.
  5. Being particularly careful with vehicles is important whether it involves industry, brick and mortar stores, or delivery services.
  6. No matter whether the machines are found in a factory, a store, or an office, it is crucial to remember that machines are large and powerful, and not necessarily capable of easy shut-off or other ways to protect people should they be used without the greatest care.
  7. Every business needs electricity, which means every business leaves the possibility of employees being exposed to the risks of electricity. Regularly make sure wires are all in good shape, and there is no place that might leave employees exposed to possible shocks.

If employers and employees work together, it will be possible to reduce that horrifically high number of workplace-related deaths and make Iowa a safer, happier, and more efficient state. Any reduction in such high numbers (5,500 every year, it is worth repeating here) would be worth the effort required to raise the standards in all seven areas highlighted above.

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How a Well-designed Landscape will Benefit You

According to a landscape architect, one element that is present in almost every single landscape architecture project is trees, not a pool, lighting or hardscape (man-made features used in landscape architecture, such as paths or walls).

There is a long list when it comes to identifying the benefits of plants and landscaping. A number of these include:

  1. Landscaping can add as much as 14% to the resale value of a building, as well as to the resale value of single family residences.
  2. Properly selected and placed plants can reduce home heating and cooling costs.
  3. When properly arranged, landscape plants around buildings can significantly reduce both heat loss and cold air infiltration through walls and floors during the winter months. Workers with a view of natural elements, like trees and flowers, also experience less job pressure, become more satisfied with their jobs, report fewer ailments and headache; interior plants, on the other hand, help increase worker productivity and reduce stress.
  4. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, carefully positioned trees help reduce household energy use for heating and cooling by up to 25%, while a tree shading an outdoor air conditioner unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10%.
  5. Landscaping with woody plants along stream banks helps reduce soil erosion, downstream flooding and filter pollutants.

The Hamlin Tree Care explains that a landscape is an important investment both for residential homes or businesses and, whether you need tree pruning, tree trimming, tree removal, stump removal, tree installation, commercial tree services, tree pest management/insect control, tree fertilization, and tree storm cleanup, there will be one arbor care service company that will be able to meet your specific needs. It is important, by the way, to entrust whatever your arbor needs are to a professional tree care service firm which is equipped with the proper knowledge and tools in how to perform the right job.

 

 

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False Imprisonment is Happening more often than You Think

False imprisonment is considered a “lesser included offense” of kidnapping; being such, it is considered unlawful because it involves the illegal detention of another individual even if the person guilty of the act has no actual serious or evil intent.

False imprisonment, otherwise known as false arrest or wrongful arrest, happens when a person takes into custody, or holds or keeps another individual against his/her will. This mistake usually happens when a person is falsely accused of a crime or when a person wrongfully brings criminal charges against another; it can be committed by private citizens or law enforces, particularly those who act outside or beyond the limits of their authority. Examples of false imprisonment include: a person holding another individual (against the latter’s will) inside any confined place; a worker or a security guard detaining someone accused of having committed a crime (despite lack of proof); and, detaining someone for personal gain, due to false information or simply due to pure malice.

As explained by The Benton Law Firm, false imprisonment occurs when one person prevents another person from leaving a specified area without their consent. This can happen for any length of time and is frequently seen in kidnapping cases. While falsely imprisoning someone is a criminal offense, it can additionally be brought in civil court to compensate the victim for any harm done by the perpetrator.

In the state of Texas, specifically, Texas law defines false imprisonment as meeting the following four criteria:

  • Nonconsensual confinement of victim
  • Confinement must be intentional
  • Victim has to have knowledge that they are imprisoned
  • Victim is not aware of any means of escape

False imprisonment cases are in the news more often than you think. Kidnapping claims are often highlighted in the news, but many do not involve only a few hours of imprisonment. However, these charges are often tied together with other criminal charges such as kidnapping, sexual assault, and unlawful restraint. You are able to pursue civil charges separately from any criminal charges brought against an attacker by proving the above elements in a civil court. A civil court additionally has a lower burden of proof to demonstrate that the attacker falsely imprisoned you. In criminal court, the prosecutor must prove that the attacker committed false imprisonment “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while in civil court, the attorney for the victim must only prove that the attacker held someone against their will “by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Filing a claim for damages, however, will only be honored by a court if it can be proven that the victim is not guilty of whatever he or she has been accused of. If a person is guilty, though, but the procedure of his/her arrest was not done correctly, like when there was no just cause or if he/she was not read his/her Miranda Rights, then the court may have the criminal charge brought against him/her dismissed, but he/she will not be granted the right to file for damages.

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The Teamwork Crime of Conspiracy

Conspiracy involves someone agreeing to assist another person or a group of people with the carrying out of a crime or an illegal act. Conspiracy charges can be complicated because prosecutors do not need to prove that the accused participated in any act that was overtly criminal in order to either charge or to convict. According to Kohler Hart Powell, SC, the only thing that prosecutors will need to prove is that the accused conspired with at least one other person to commit a federal crime that was eventually attempted by another of the alleged conspirators. The charge of conspiracy requires only that action had been taken to begin the process of carrying out an illegal act. This action itself need not be a crime.

The conspiracy must begin with an agreement between the co-conspirators. This agreement does not need to be written or even overtly expressed. This agreement can be implicit, demonstrated merely by an action to complete the task taken by the party. Two common types of conspiracies include robbery conspiracies and drug conspiracies. In the case of a robbery conspiracy, the group plans together to rob either a person or a place. Drug conspiracy involves a plan to commit a drug crime, possibly by conspiring to possess, distribute, or manufacture illicit drugs.

Intent also plays an important role in conspiracy crimes. At least two parties in the conspiracy must intend to agree and all parties must intend to complete the illegal act. This means that knowledge of a crime is not enough to be considered of conspiring to commit a crime; the person must also agree to assist in the act in a direct way. Another type of conspiracy, RICO conspiracies, involve a group of people conspiring to commit a racketeering crime. A racket is a form of fraud that involves offering a service to solve a problem that does not exist or would not exist if the racket itself did not exist. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) was created with the purpose of seeking to eradicate organized crime of this nature. Racketeering is ripe for conspiracies because it often necessarily involves a large number of people in order to execute the act.

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All You Need To Know About Malicious Prosecution

When a criminal or civil case is filed without sufficient basis or for the wrong purpose, the victim has the right to sue the defendant for malicious prosecution. The law prohibits any individual from abusing the legal process. According to the website of Clawson and Staubes, LLC Injury Group, being wrongfully accused of a crime can bring humiliation and embarrassment to the plaintiff.

In order to succeed with a malicious prosecution case, there are four elements that needs to be proven:

1. The original case was dismissed in the victim’s favor

The victim must prove to the court that the case was dismissed in his favor. If there was a plea deal or the victim pleaded to a lesser charge, a successful malicious prosecution case is unlikely. Likewise, if there was a not guilty verdict, proving malicious prosecution can be difficult.

2. Active involvement

For their case to be successful, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the prosecutor played an active role in the criminal case. For instance, it was the prosecutor who filed the charges, handled the case, and supervised the other attorneys handling the case.

3. Probable cause

The prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant had probable cause to commit a crime. If they are able to gather enough evidence to support reasonable suspicion for committing a crime or that it was more likely for the defendant to commit the crime, then there is probable cause.

4. Improper Purpose

To prove improper purpose, the plaintiff must be able to show that the prosecution did not make a mistake or gathered information but relied on that wrong information. Pursuing the case despite the lack of probable cause is a good example of improper purpose.

However, the problem with filing a malicious prosecution case is that the prosecutor is immuned from any liability in such types of cases. Such immunity is designed to protect prosecutors and other law enforcers so that they can do their jobs without having to defend themselves from allegations of malicious prosecution.

However, if it can be proven that the prosecutor acted beyond his authority by instigating or pursuing a criminal case, they may be exempted from such immunity.

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