According to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, incidents involving combustible dust led to 119 worker deaths and 718 worker injuries between 1980 and 2005. Although an explosion or fire caused by combustible dust poses a real risk to workers, few people actually have the knowledge and experience to put safety measures into place. Employers may not understand the danger that exists because dust can lay dormant for years without incident.
Many construction employers in Louisiana are now subject to the new Confined Spaces in Construction standard that was published by the Occupational Safety and Health Association in May 2015. Though the standard was published in May, employers were subject to a temporary enforcement policy until Oct. 2. The temporary enforcement policy has been extended until Jan. 8, 2016 for residential construction employers only.
For Louisiana workers, there are many risks that contribute to accidents when it comes to working in high places, including unstable ladders. To reduce some of these risks, some employers are using portable lifts to provide an alternative way for employees to safely work in high places.
The data collected by the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics might help some Louisiana employees understand more about their exposure to risks they encounter in the workplace. According to the report, the number of fatal workplace injuries increased in 24 states from 2013 to 2014. Nationwide, the rate of fatal workplace injuries increased by 2 percent from the year before. More than 4,670 fatal work injuries occurred in 2014, equating to a rate of 3.3 fatal injuries for every 100,000 full-time equivalent employees.