Certain occupations are more inherently dangerous than others. Pennsylvania's coal mining industry was at one time the cause of many deaths and injuries, but today, the oil and gas drilling industry is regularly listed among the most dangerous. OSHA requires employers to control or mitigate identified hazards. Despite this, deaths and severe injuries in the oil and gas fields continue to increase.
Many workers in Pennsylvania must deal with exposure to diesel exhaust. To help address the dangers of diesel exhaust exposure, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has published a fact sheet for employees in the oil and gas industry.
Employers in Pennsylvania, especially those in construction, should know that OSHA has kicked off one of its National Emphasis Program, this time on trenching and excavation safety. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 130 fatalities in trenching and excavation operations between 2011 and 2016. Eighty percent occurred in the private construction industry.
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 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.
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.
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.
Sanitation employers and employees in Pennsylvania may not be aware that the industry they work in is one of the most dangerous in the nation. Among civilian occupations in 2016, refuse and recyclable material collectors had the fifth highest fatal injury rate. This is according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Changes in how radiologists do their jobs could cause these Pennsylvania professionals to experience neck and back pain. Those who operate in picture archiving and communication spend less time in front of patients and more time in front of a computer. As work areas are not necessarily designed in an ergonomic manner, a worker could be forced to sit in an awkward position.
If you've been in the workforce a long time and suffered an injury on the job, maybe you have a handle on some of the ins and outs of workers' compensation in Pennsylvania. Most hard-working individuals in the state, though, have never had to confront this complicated system. Even if you have, it can be unwise to presume that your next experience will be the same as your last.