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Workplace Safety Archives

The culture of fear among poultry workers

Poultry workers in Minnesota and across the country face a unique set of hazards in the course of carrying out their work. However, some poultry workers feel afraid to tell federal inspectors about workplace hazards or workplace injuries they sustain. They're fearful that if they talk, they may lose their employment.

OSHA enforces BBP standards in recycling industry

Minnesota residents who work in the recycling and waste collection field probably know how needlestick injuries are a common risk. Used hypodermic needles, lancets, and other sharps contain blood, which may be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis B and HIV. Standards for the determination and control of BBPs are something that OSHA has been working to enforce from facility to facility.

Why floor mats make for safer workplaces

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, private industry employers reported close to 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2016. Accidents that caused employees to miss at least six workdays cost employers in the U.S. nearly $62 billion. Slip and fall accidents are a particular danger for businesses in Minnesota and across the U.S., accounting for $2.35 billion in business costs alone.

How to work with multiple generations at once

Employers in Minnesota and throughout the country may have employees of all ages. This may require tailoring a working environment that caters to a variety of experience levels and backgrounds. Although older people may not use technology as frequently as younger generations, they tend to be able to master it quickly. For example, a Pew Research Center survey in 2013 found that 55 percent of Americans own smartphones while only 18 percent of those aged 65 or older had them.

New OSHA silica exposure rules address serious health threat

Construction workers in Minnesota who routinely cut into concrete block products risk exposure to silica dust. This summer, new regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration came into effect. They require employers to make written plans to prevent workers from breathing the hazardous dust. Someone needs to be specifically assigned the task of putting the safety plan into practice. Employers should also offer medical exams to workers whose duties include wearing a respirator more than 30 days in a year. Medical checks could alert a worker to dust exposure before serious sickness develops.

Drug testing injured workers may be considered retaliation

Due to a new OSHA rule on mandatory electronic reporting, some employers may experience problems when drug testing employers after injuries. The use of drug test after a work accident could potentially fall under rules prohibiting employer retaliation against workers. In essence, use of the mandatory screening could result in workers failing to report injuries. OSHA has also taken authority to file retaliation charges against employers, which means that an employee doesn't have to file the charge first for action to be taken.

Keeping manufacturing workplaces safe for employees

Although safety in Minnesota manufacturing plants has improved, the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses is still high. Across the nation, it is estimated that approximately four out of every 100 plant workers are injured on the job contract an occupational disease every year. Manufacturing has the highest proportion of serious injuries of all industry sectors.

Improved safety helmets for construction

Government researchers report that there were 2,210 cases of traumatic brain injuries from 2003 to 2010 in the construction industry in which the worker died. Minnesota construction workers should know that new safety helmets are being designed by construction companies so that they can have improved protection from injuries sustained in falls.

Hazard alert regarding vapor ignition

The ignition of vapors emitted from vehicles or motorized equipment can result in worker fatalities. In order to prevent these fatalities, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have worked together to create a hazard alert that not only addresses the risks associated with ignited vapors but also suggests preventative measure and engineering controls.

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