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Lockout/tagout can prevent serious workplace injuries

Workers in Pennsylvania who deal with machinery and electricity are often at a higher risk of a serious on-the-job injury. This is one reason why lockout and tagout, or LOTO, rules are a major priority for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. LOTO is used when a piece of equipment or a power supply needs to be maintained or service or when a guard or other type of safety device needs to be removed or bypassed to allow for repairs or other work. The safety procedure ensures that dangerous equipment is shut off and cannot be accidentally restarted; in many cases, visible red padlocks are used to designate a machine on LOTO.

The worker performing the service will hold the keys in order to be able to restart the machinery only when the service is complete. However, there are a number of specifics that apply to the standard, and compliance is critical for preventing dangerous workplace accidents. The consequences of failing to use a proper LOTO system can be devastating for workers or even fatal; when workers deal with electricity that is not properly turned off, they could face electrocution and severe burns.

Roadcheck inspections finds hours of service violations

Some Pennsylvania truck drivers may have had their vehicles inspected as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's International Roadcheck event. The inspection was conducted in early June throughout North America.

Not as many drivers and vehicles were placed out of service as in 2017 even though there were more inspections. Common out-of-service violations for trucks were brake adjustment and systems along with tires and wheels. Drivers were taken out of service for false record of duty status, wrong class of license or hours of service violations. However, although hours of service was the focus of the inspection and over 40 percent of the drivers who were taken out of service were because of this type of violation, they represented only 2 percent of all drivers.

Common injuries to healthcare workers and their right to benefits

Healthcare workers are among the most generous employees. Risking their own health and safety to care for a victim of illness or injury involves great courage. When healthcare workers face illness or injury themselves, however, they may wish to obtain workers’ compensation.

If you work within the scope of your employment and conduct various activities required for your position, you may confront danger or be subjected to serious, contagious illnesses. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) works to provide ways to promote best practices for safely engaging in workplace activities. Yet sometimes, healthcare workers still come into contact with bodily harm. Workers’ compensation gives healthcare workers the opportunity to obtain reimbursement for medical costs of their work injuries or illnesses.

Department of Labor to expand jobs open to young workers

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits workers who are 16 or 17 years old from doing certain jobs in Pennsylvania or anywhere else in the country. It allows exemptions for student learners and apprentices in some cases, but these young workers are generally not allowed to work in industries like coal mining and forest fire fighting. The Department of Labor, though, has stated that it plans to propose rulemaking that would expand the industries open to young workers.

A number of Democrats in the House of Representatives have expressed concerns about the DOL proposal. Forty-seven lawmakers signed a letter that was sent on Aug. 1 to the Secretary of Labor. They cited a study published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that showed a decline in workplace fatalities over the last 18 years for people aged 15 to 17. According to the letter, weakened protections for younger workers could reverse the progress represented by lowered fatalities and jeopardize safety and health in the workplace. They ask questions of the DOL regarding the scientific basis of the policy move.

The basics of safe driving

Safety should be the top concern of every driver in Pennsylvania, especially since distractions are now so widespread. The first step in staying safe on the roadways is to drive attentively. This means never reaching for the phone or picking things up from the floor. "Buzzed" and drowsy driving are examples of impairment that are to be avoided by all motorists.

The second tip is to drive defensively. This means being aware of other drivers and expecting them to do the unexpected. A 2-second cushion can help prevent rear-end collisions, but in bad weather, it should be bumped up to 4 seconds. Thirdly, drivers should plan their schedules in such a way as to avoid rushing. It's important to factor time for pulling over to eat or making calls. Before going out, drivers should adjust the seat, mirrors and climate control.

Five tips for preventing machinery-related injuries

Poor maintenance and improper use of machinery are usually to blame for machinery-related injuries in the workplace. Employers in Pennsylvania who want to ensure a safe environment for their employees will want to consider the following five tips. They apply not only to the heavyweight machines but also to the small machines that are relatively easy to operate.

Machine guarding is the first step. Barrier guards, light curtains and two-hand controls are just a few examples of guarding. They can prevent injuries due to rotating parts, flying chips and sparks from tools like saws and lathes. The next step is to have all employees wear the right personal protective equipment. This includes helmets, safety goggles and face shields, ear protection, gloves and steel-toe shoes. To determine what sort of PPE is necessary, employers should conduct a hazard assessment.

Study reveals disturbing distracted driving attitudes

Mobile phone use plays a role in about one in four car accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country, according to some analysts. Despite laws prohibiting the use of phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel, most road safety advocates expect the problem to get worse in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers recently asked 447 South East Queensland drivers about the crash risks associated with phone use. Researchers discovered that this dangerous behavior is more common among inexperienced motorists and women.

The distracted driving research, which was published by the Society for Risk Analysis, also reveals that drivers are not deterred by laws mandating the use of hands-free devices. Many respondents told the researchers that only traffic congestion, hazardous driving conditions or a visible police presence prevented them from using their mobile phones.

Most common severe injuries in the oil and gas industry

The oil and gas industry is extremely dangerous. According to a recent analysis by E&E News, it might have the highest rates of severe injury in the country. Before looking at why the industry is so dangerous, it’s important to understand the petroleum industry’s supply chain, and where most of those injuries occur.

Preventing heat stroke from occurring at a work site

During the summer, Pennsylvania workers may be at risk for suffering heat stroke when the temperatures begin to rise. Because heat stroke can be dangerous, employers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency as it can be fatal if it's not treated. Those who are experiencing heat stroke could develop temperatures as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit. They may become confused and disorientated. In some cases, they can lose the ability to create sweat, meaning they won't be able to cool themselves down. This may also make their skin appear red and feel hot and dry to the touch.

Truck brakes must be maintained for safety

Drivers in Pennsylvania have plenty to be concerned about when it comes to the dangers posed by poorly maintained truck brakes and equipment. When a large commercial truck drives with dangerously bad brakes, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on the road can pay a high price in case of a crash. Improperly maintained brakes may mean that a truck driver is unable to stop their vehicle at the right time, and with the size, weight and mass of 18-wheelers, the results can be catastrophic or even fatal. This is one reason the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is organizing Brake Safety Week.

Marked between September 16 and 22 this year, the safety week includes enhanced inspections of trucks across the country. Trucks will receive complete Level I inspections, but these will focus in particular on aspects of the brake system that could indicate poor maintenance. Among other issues, inspectors will be on the lookout for missing or loose brake parts; worn-out pads, linings, drums and rotors; leaking air or hydraulic fluid; damaged rotors; mismatched or broken air chambers and reservoirs; and missing required warning devices.

Stapp Law, LLC - Workers Compensation

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