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OSHA Combats Trenching Workplace Accidents Through Outreach

Pennsylvania's construction industry is an important part of the state's economy, but sobering statistics reveal that construction professionals are facing increasing workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities when trenching and excavating. From 2011 to 2016, 104 deaths have been attributed to cave-ins related to trenching across the United States according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number has grown over time with 2015 and 2016 seeing spikes in workplace deaths connected to trenching accidents. Unofficial union data also points to dozens of deaths being attributed to trenching cave-ins during 2017.

Historical data can help prevent workplace injuries

Many workplace injuries in Pennsylvania could potentially be prevented with better employer understanding and responses to previous incidents. The principle that most workplace accidents are actually predictable and preventable underlies the approach of OSHA. This agency refers to workplace injuries as "incidents" rather than "accidents," because an accident is something unexpected that could not be foreseen. While some workplace accidents may indeed be caused by sudden and unpredictable external factors, most injuries or even deaths are caused by the situation at the work site, where employers can take action to reduce the risk of injury.

5 leading causes of construction worker deaths

Pennsylvania construction workers should know the most common hazards in their industry. Though construction workers make up 6 percent of the population, construction fatalities actually account for over 20 percent of all private sector employee deaths. Falls are the first of five leading causes of death in the construction industry.

Amazon investigated for improper treatment of workers

Amazon has been facing increased scrutiny over alleged workplace safety issues. For example, a former employee at an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania was reportedly fired five weeks after being hurt on the job. She was refused the paperwork for a workers' compensation claim and had her short-term disability benefits cut short. This is just one instance of the alleged improper treatment of workers in Amazon warehouses. There are more than 140 fulfillment centers across the U.S. and approximately 560,000 Amazon employees worldwide.

OSHA addresses noise, respiratory hazards faced by temp workers

As part of its Temporary Worker Initiative, OSHA has released two bulletins on noise exposure and respiratory hazards faced by temp workers. Staffing agencies and host employers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. will want to take note of these bulletins, as they enforce existing regulations found in OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard and Occupational Noise Standard.

How employers can reduce injury risks from heavy machinery

In the Pennsylvania manufacturing industry, heavy machinery can help complete labor-intensive tasks quickly and correctly. However, when the machines are not used correctly, employees can be put at serious risk for injuries. As such, employers should take certain measures to ensure that employees are safe.

America's most dangerous jobs

All workers in Pennsylvania face the threat of workplace accidents and injuries. However, there are certain types of occupations that carry a higher risk of injury or death. In the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics documents the most dangerous jobs in the country. In 2016, 5,190 civilian workers died on the job, an increase of almost 6 percent from the prior year.

Injuries at meat plants

Pennsylvania meatpackers are may incur second degree burns, fractured fingers, head trauma and amputations. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these are just a sampling of the severe injuries that can be sustained at a meat plant in the United States every week.

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Law Office Of Deborah M. Truscello
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Media, PA 19063

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