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Slidell Workers' Compensation Law Blog

OSHA tries to reduce fatal construction accidents

About 20 percent of worker deaths that occurred around the country in 2016 were in the construction industry according to OSHA. Louisiana construction workers are generally hurt or killed by four major types of hazards. These include falling, being electrocuted and getting hit by objects. Getting stuck between objects was another typical way in which a construction worker was killed on the job.

To help workers stay safe, OSHA has started the Focus Four Hazards campaign. It aims to partner with private companies to create greater awareness around these hazards and how to mitigate them. One of the ways that this was accomplished was by managers holding toolbox talks with employees. These talks provided an opportunity to remind workers of the importance of workplace safety. It also gave managers and employees the chance to discuss safety plans or ways to avoid potential hazards on a job site.

Amazon warehouse workers report adverse conditions

In July 2018, the Guardian launched an investigation into claims of adverse conditions at Amazon warehouses. There have been multiple claims from former employees that they were treated improperly by management after getting hurt on the job. Many of these workers, some of whom could be in Louisiana, may be left without injury benefits.

Amazon currently runs more than 140 fulfillment centers across the U.S., and it employs over 560,000 people worldwide. A spokesperson insists that the company's employee safety is a top priority, but former employees tell a different story. Some report that Amazon warehouse conditions left them excessively fatigued and exhausted and that they chose to quit rather than put themselves at risk for an accident.

11 safety rules for chemical handlers in Louisiana

Ensuring the safe handling of hazardous chemicals is an essential part of the environment, health and safety field. Employees and employers alike can benefit from considering the following 11 safety rules. The first rule is for workers to perform their duties according to the training they received. Second of all, workers must be alert to any potential hazards when working.

Personal protective equipment is essential, and it must not be worn or damaged in any way. Fourthly, employers should have emergency procedures for times when employers are covered in chemicals or start a fire. The procedures should cover the evacuation and reporting process too. Fifth, it's critical to ensure a clean work environment. Employees should clean work surfaces once during their shift to prevent contamination.

Grace period ends for compliance with silica dust standards

Louisiana workers whose duties might expose them to crystalline silica dust should expect their employers to comply with the new safety standards developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency had delayed full enforcement of the rules meant to prevent unhealthy exposures to respirable dust until July 23 for companies showing a good faith effort to comply with regulations. With full enforcement now in effect, employers will need to offer their workers medical surveillance under certain circumstances to detect silica disease early.

Employers must provide medical evaluations at no cost to employees when silica dust exceeds permissible levels for 30 or more days during a 12-month period. The 30 days do not have to be consecutive. Dust exposure that occurred while working with a previous employer will not carry over to count toward the 30 days with a current employer.

BLS data used to rank US jobs with the worst fatality rates

In late 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. This data was used to rank the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. If Louisiana employees are not familiar with the ranking, now is the time to review it; some of the listed jobs may be surprising.

The top three were logging workers, fishing workers and aircraft pilots and flight engineers. The logging industry experienced 135.9 fatalities out of 100,000 full-time or equivalent workers. The fishing industry, which held the No. 2 position, had a fatal work injury rate of 86. While logging and fishing may have had the highest rates based on total workforce, the most overall fatalities came from the truck and sales transportation industry. This group saw 918 deaths in 2016.

Black lung report encourages more monitoring, research

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has published a new report that may be of interest to Louisiana miners. Black lung disease, caused by the inhalation of coal mine dust, has long been a problem with people in the mining industry. Despite advances in technology, there has been a steady increase in black lung cases across the nation.

The report goes into the ways that companies can reduce exposure to respirable coal dust. This could be done after a careful monitoring of the mine via a continuous personal dust monitor. However, these monitors have several issues. For instance, they may include limestone and other materials in their measurements. In addition, cost and size may keep many miners from wearing them.

How to prevent nail gun injuries

Nail guns are responsible for 37,000 emergency room visits per year in Louisiana and throughout the country. Of those visits, 68 percent are made by workers who are hurt using the tools on the job. In some cases, workers are hurt because a nail was discharged when a person didn't intend for that to happen. In others, they were hurt because a nail hit a solid surface and ricocheted.

Injuries can also occur if a person is nailing from an awkward position or if an individual ignores safety best practices. Individuals could be hit by a nail if they bump into or otherwise make contact with a gun that someone else is holding. To prevent such injuries from happening, employers should aim to use sequential trigger nail guns. They should also implement a safety plan that includes rules for how and where these guns are used.

Technology can keep workers safe on the job

An accident doesn't have to be fatal to have an impact on a Louisiana workers's health. Accidents resulting in worker injuries can also have negative consequences for employers as it can result in less productivity. According to the CDC Foundation, workplace accidents nationwide cost employers $220 billion annually. However, connected devices could help keep workers safe, especially those who work alone.

The use of sensors, wearable devices and GPS tracking allows companies to create and monitor data in real-time. This data can then be used to see potential hazards and ultimately minimize or eliminate risks. Employees can wear devices that monitor their health as they work in inclement weather or other dangerous conditions. In addition, these tools can monitor a worker's temperature and heart rate to make sure that they are within safe ranges.

Insurtech startup could reduce work injuries with new tech

Employers and employees in Louisiana are probably aware of the dangers they face in the workplace. Many are unforeseeable, which explains why on-the-job accidents cost businesses and insurers hundreds of billions of dollars each year in workers compensation claims. However, an insurtech startup based in Iowa is providing devices that may help reduce accidents and streamline the investigation of workers compensation claims.

MākuSafe has developed is a wearable band for employees that can record environmental and motion data, reporting it to a cloud platform and making it more consumable for workplace safety managers. Whenever there are near-misses, it will record those too. The greatest benefit is that thanks to machine learning, the devices can identify unsafe trends and hazardous areas.

Seven tips for hot work safety

"Hot work" is a term that many factory owners in Louisiana are probably familiar with. It refers to processes like burning and welding that can ignite fires and explosions, so there is always a safety risk attached to it. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has released a new fact sheet that gives much critical information about hot work safety.

The most common causes of death in this field are explosions and fires created by flammable atmospheres. Though hot work is performed across many industries, refineries and chemicals plants are the most frequent site of hot work deaths because they contain many containers and tanks full of flammables. The CSB has therefore provided seven tips to avoid hot work accidents.