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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Louisiana companies and others that use the Safety Performance Evaluation Process, or STEP, can make their workplaces up to 670 percent safer. This is according to the 2018 Safety Performance Report issued by Associated Builders and Contractors. According to the report, companies that used the STEP system saw a drop in reportable safety accidents of 85 percent. Associated Builders and Contractors also found that STEP was more effective when both managers and employees were trained.
All Louisiana workers are at risk of sustaining injuries at work, and the types of workplace injuries that they may experience vary depending on the job. For example, radiologists are at risk for suffering lower back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries. According to the American College of Radiology, approximately 33 percent of radiologists report lower back pain.
Many workers in Louisiana neglect to consider the danger of eye accidents in the workplace. However, eye injuries take a major economic and personal toll on workers across the country. Every year, over 20,000 workers suffer damage to their eyes while on the job. While the cost in productivity is often estimated at $300 million, the personal cost can be far greater. Employees who suffer workplace injuries that involve eye damage can suffer pain, loss of vision or even blindness.
Louisiana residents who work in the entertainment industry may be interested to learn about the renewed alliance recently announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. By partnering with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, OSHA will be working to improve workplace safety in the entertainment industry. The federal agency will provide the members of the two organizations with informational and educational materials that address industry hazards, such as poor ergonomics, falls and electrical dangers.