Louisiana workers and their employers may be interested in new regulations about workers who labor in confined areas during construction projects. The new rules, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are similar to confined space requirements initiated in 1993, but these new requirements specifically target construction sites. They include work done in spaces such as bins, boilers, silos, vessels, sewers, HVAC ducts and many other types of confined areas.
Louisiana workers may have heard about a scaffolding accident that recently took place in North Carolina and which left three workers dead and a fourth badly injured. The accident took place when a scaffold on a construction site collapsed and fell. The incident serves as an example of numerous current trends in the construction industry.
Every year in Louisiana and around the country, workers who are involved in digging trenches are seriously injured or killed when the trenches in which they are working suddenly collapse. Trench cave-ins can happen with no warning, and even a cubic foot of dirt can exert up to 3,000 pounds of pressure, effectively crushing workers on which it might fall.
As experienced Louisiana workers age and retire, and new hires are brought in to fill staffing gaps, the likelihood of accidents or injuries on the job increases. This is especially true of occupations such as construction and warehouse work where visible hazards are part of the workplace landscape. One safety advocate observes that simple organizational growth can modify or negate existing safety programs and paradigms as worker duties shift.
A 19-year-old employee at a manufacturing plant was hospitalized after being found unconscious by a forklift. Some of the 19-year-old's co-workers knew something was wrong when he didn't respond to radio calls. That's when the young man's co-workers searched for and found him. They called emergency responders who quickly airlifted him to a nearby hospital. He was listed in stable condition and it appears he will be alright. However, he did suffer burns and injuries to his arms and hands.