Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's list of top 10 violations remains largely unchanged. However, a new entry has emerged in the fiscal year 2017. According to online resources, 1,523 citations were issued in connection with fall protection training between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017. In light of this development, workers in Pennsylvania and other states across the nation who are at risk for fall-related injuries may want to know more.
Loading docks and warehouses across Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. see their fair share of accidents, many of which lead to serious injuries which can be fatal. They can additionally slow down productivity and increase insurance rates. Some of the most common accidents are caused by blind spots, where forklifts collide with workers who are on foot.
Pennsylvania workers who have jobs that require repeated motions of the wrist are at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This can cause tingling, numbness and weakness, making it difficult and painful for employees to complete their tasks.
Pennsylvania warehouse workers understand how important it is to follow all safety rules while on the job. If certain standards are not met, serious injuries can occur. For example, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that a warehouse worker fell 7 feet to his death while standing on a platform elevated by a forklift.
Office workers in Pennsylvania might assume that their workplaces do not present any serious health hazards. However, all of those hours looking at a computer screen could injure the eyes. The American Optometric Association labels the problem as computer vision syndrome. The strain of viewing digital screens for prolonged periods produces problems like eyestrain, blurry vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.
According to researchers, a common water pipe repair method used by Pennsylvania construction workers could be hazardous. The method, called the cured-in-place method, releases a plume of what was thought to be steam during the curation process. However, air test studies found that these plumes may actually contain known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
With more than 20 trenching deaths around the country reported in 2016, Pennsylvania construction workers may want to know more about this high-risk job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fatal trench-related incidents are preventable when safe operating procedures are in place and contractors comply with industry safety standards. However, criminal convictions in trench-collapse cases indicate that safety may sometimes be overlooked.
Young workers in Pennsylvania may be at a greater risk of injury on the job than their older counterparts. It is estimated that they suffer injuries that must be treated in emergency rooms at a rate two times greater than workers older than 24. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2015, more than 400 workers younger than 24 died from workplace injuries. Among that number, 24 were younger than 18. That same year, there was a total of 19.1 million workers younger than 24, and this made up 13 percent of the workforce.
More than 13 million workers around the country are exposed to potentially toxic substances in the workplace each year, and skin conditions are the second most common kind of occupational diseases, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. These illnesses, that many Pennsylvania workers have contracted, range from mild conditions like contact dermatitis that respond well to antibiotics to possibly life-threatening diseases like skin cancer.
Pennsylvania workers may have fewer protections in the years ahead according to the AFL-CIO. The union president says that the Trump administration is trying to roll back many of the policies from the Obama years. During the Obama administration, a report released by the union says, protections against retaliation and important health and safety standards were strengthened. However, the goals of the current administration are focused on deregulation.