In the wake of the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, legislators and safety experts are questioning how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could have allowed the safety hazards at that particular job site to multiply to dangerous levels. Though the situation is unquestionably complicated, the bottom line is that an unacceptably high rate of workplace accidents occurs in America annually because OSHA's budget is profoundly limited.
When SuperStorm Sandy rocked the East Coast, the visual images of the damage streamed to the rest of the world on television were staggering. But ultimately, no property damage compared in scale to the loss of human life suffered as a result of the storm and its aftermath. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a complete picture of that human tragedy in terms of fatal workplace accident rates. To date, 16 workers have died in New York and New Jersey in accidents directly related to SuperStorm Sandy.
A previously unsuccessful federal workplace safety bill is being granted another chance at passage. Democratic representatives from California and Connecticut have reintroduced H.R. 691 entitled the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act. The bill's enactment would help to ensure that the rate of factory worker injuries in certain industries drops by preventing explosions resulting from combustible dust.
A New York City newspaper's investigation into work site accidents discovered that job site accidents increased more than 30 percent from fiscal year 2011 to 2012 while the number of injuries rose 46 percent over the same period. These statistics are alarming because enforcement of job site safety has been drastically cut back. So are these cut backs in enforcement the reason for the increase in construction accidents and injuries? From 2009 to 2012, the city's buildings department cut the number of worksite inspections by 40 percent.
The days of the long holiday season that involve a great amount of gift giving are behind us. Now Americans are flocking to malls, grocery stores and large retail outlets in order to exchange gifts, restock the pantry and purchase other things on their wish lists with gift cards. Employees at these large retailers now have their hands full helping customers navigate return policies and restocking the shelves after the holiday rush.
The winter season and the cold and wet weather that accompany it often brings an increase in slips, trips, and falls, especially in New York. Many of these, if severe enough end with a visit to the hospital or emergency room. It is however, not expected that those treating the injured will themselves experience a slip, trip, or fall on the way to lending a helping hand.
A recent survey conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional reveals that too many workers fail to take proper precautions when it comes to eye protection in the workplace. Specifically, 85 percent of industrial employees responding to the survey indicated that they have observed co-workers failing to adhere to proper eye safety standards by not wearing appropriate protective eyewear in situations that warrant it.
Trying to "have it all" can be quite challenging. In addition to full-time work, many individuals also attempt to build a fulfilling home life, an adventurous social life, hobbies and other passions. Filling one's life with worthwhile challenges is a noble approach. However, new research suggests that trying to juggle too much at once can lead to neck and back injuries, among other health complications.
Last week, we noted that construction workers, first responders and other employees who work out of doors are especially vulnerable to cold stress this time of year. However, it is important to remember that winter makes all employees who live in the north vulnerable to certain kinds of work-related injuries and illnesses.
As autumn slowly gives way to winter, workers who spend any time of their working day must guard against the hazards of cold stress. Unprotected exposure to extreme cold can result in serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these conditions and most often there are ways to effectively treat them if they unexpectedly develop.