Construction contractors in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. are concerned over the implications of a 2018 OSHA memorandum that authorizes investigators to use drones in job site inspections. One concern is that the drones, which are equipped with cameras to take pictures and video recordings, will go beyond the limited scope of an inspection and infringe upon employers' privacy.
The National Fire Protection Association has found that out of the 8 percent of contract workers who die from electrocution, 68 percent worked in construction and extraction. Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics spanning the years 2012 to 2016. Contract workers in Pennsylvania, whether independent contractors or affiliated with a particular firm, should take notice of this trend.
A fact sheet published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lists diesel exhaust exposure as a hazard faced by oil and gas extraction workers in Pennsylvania and all over the U.S. Diesel engines are common in many different industries; they are found in earth-moving equipment, trucks, generators, compressors and other equipment. According to NIOSH, a research paper on the subject found that every worker in oil and gas is potentially subject to harm caused by diesel exhaust.
Pennsylvania residents who work on a temporary basis may be interested to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is recommending that temporary staffing firms and host employers detail in their contracts their obligations for complying with OSHA standards. The inclusion of the terms in the contract can help prevent confusion about the responsibilities of employers and help guarantee that the employers will be in compliance with any applicable regulatory requirements.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is tasked with ensuring that employers in Pennsylvania and around the country obey safety regulations and provide their workers with the safety training and equipment they need. The violations handed out by OSHA inspectors reveal how seriously these responsibilities are taken by employers and the kind of infractions the agency is primarily concerned about, and the 10 most common OSHA citations were recently discussed during the National Safety Council Congress and Expo.
OSHA has updated its National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavation for the first time since 1985, mainly as a response to the increase in worker injuries and fatalities. Pennsylvania workers should know that the private construction industry accounted for 104 out of the 130 fatalities in trenching and excavation between 2011 and 2016. Approximately 49 percent of those fatalities occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone.
Amazon workers in Pennsylvania and across the country may be concerned about safety on the job. According to a recent investigation, workers at some Amazon warehouses report very poor job conditions. Across the United States, there are over 140 warehouses or fulfillment centers that process and package orders for the online retail giant.
Employers in Pennsylvania have a responsibility for making sure that the workers who have to work with or around hazardous materials are aware of the basic safety rules. A list of the rules for handling such materials can be presented at a safety meeting during which the employees should be encouraged to assist with adding to the list.
For some, the possibility of experiencing a fatal accident might be an occupational hazard that they have to go through every day. Yet, not all jobs are equally dangerous. For instance, a logging worker in Pennsylvania is more at risk of having an accident than an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.
Coal mining forms part of the economy and history of Pennsylvania. Underground mining, however, exposes workers to coal dust, which builds up in the lungs and causes serious and sometimes fatal health problems. Pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease, has increased among miners despite workplace safety regulations that are meant to reduce coal dust exposure. Researchers also suspect that coal dust promotes lung cancer and emphysema.