Pennsylvania residents who are employed in certain aspects of the construction industry may want to know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a final rule on working in confined spaces. Issued on May 4, it will be effective on Aug. 3.
Some workers are at risk of suffering heat-related illnesses because they are exposed to hot temperatures and the sun while on the job. Pennsylvania employees might not realize that thousands of workers become ill every year in the United States because of excessive heat exposure, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 2012, more than 30 died from heat-related sickness.
As both employees and business owners in Pennsylvania should be aware, toxic exposure in the workplace is a serious health concern for all involved. Hazardous workplace toxins can enter into the bodies of workers and cause them great harm, through methods ranging from respiration to skin absorption, and it is necessary for everyone to work together to handle dangerous chemicals safely and guard the health of all people concerned.
Pennsylvania workers should be able to expect a reasonable level of safety when on the job, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees this concern on a national level. OSHA regulations provide a guide for employers to ensure that work conditions are safe for those in their employ. Employers are required to provide a workplace that is free of significant hazards and comply with applicable federal and state law.
Although the rate of work-related illness and injury in the U.S. has dropped by more than half in the last two decades, thanks to improvements in safety standards and health regulations, American workers still suffer more than 3 million workplace injuries and illnesses each year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data just released for 2013. About 4,400 of those events were fatal with 178 work-related deaths occurring in Pennsylvania.
Construction professionals are often exposed to significant risks in the work environment, and those in Pennsylvania should be aware of important safety protocol and risks related to their jobs. However, even experienced construction personnel can have problems related to faulty materials or equipment. Some nail gun injuries occur because of incorrect use of tools, but others can occur due to errors by co-workers or problems with materials.
An explosion and fire at Consol Energy Inc. nearby Route 22 in Blairsville left one employee injured. According to reports, the Feb. 15 incident took place around 5 p.m. at the natural gas company's building in Derry Township.
As the workforce in Pennsylvania continues to become more diverse, it is important to adjust employee protective gear to fit workers of all physical variations and genders. Safety eyewear is one of the hardest types of personal protection to customize due to the wide variation in facial features between people. Two workers of roughly the same physical size may need vastly different styles of safety eyewear.
Workers in Pennsylvania should be aware of the hazards of falls. These are a particular risk in the construction industry, but an injury from a fall can occur in any occupation. Other industries that have high injury rates from falls include health care, retail, transportation, and building cleaning and maintenance. In 2009, more than 600 workers were killed and over 200,000 seriously injured in falls.