OSHA is reminding employers in Louisiana and across the U.S. that they must protect their retail workers during the holiday season. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that although retail workers may earn extra pay by working additional hours, the consequences are lost family time and lost sleep. In 2016, 24 percent of American employees said that work compromised their ability to fulfill personal and family obligations.
Both employers and staffing agencies in Louisiana and throughout the country are responsible for ensuring that temporary workers are kept safe. They could both be held liable if a worker is not properly trained or if other safety guidelines are ignored. According to OSHA, temporary employees tend to be asked to do hazardous work and may be more likely to be retaliated against by an employer. In some cases, they are asked to do jobs without adequate descriptions of their responsibilities.
Employers and workers in Louisiana are generally in agreement when it comes to doing everything possible to maintain safe work environments. During a recent safety event where this particular topic was addressed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a preliminarily listing of the agency's top violations for 2018. The majority of the issues documented involved fall hazards and failure to take sufficient preventative actions.
There has been an increase in the number of workers killed during trenching and excavation operations. OSHA reported 130 such fatalities between 2011 and 2016. Nearly half died between 2015 and 2016, and about 80 percent were in the private construction industry. Construction workers in Louisiana should know that OSHA has taken an important step to increase enforcement of trenching and excavation safety standards.
An audit report from the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General states that OSHA may be underreporting severe and fatal workplace injuries by 50 percent or more. Employees in Louisiana may know that OSHA made changes to its injury and illness recordkeeping rule, which went into effect back in January 2015. Despite these changes, OSHA is inconsistent in issuing citations against employers who report an injury late, the OIG continues.
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.