Construction workers have very dangerous jobs, but construction sites in North Carolina and around the country have become safer in recent years thanks to stricter regulations, advances in safety equipment and steps taken by developers to reduce workplace accidents and injuries. However, a study published recently by the Government Accountability Office suggests that construction workers hired by companies that win Department of Defense contracts may not be receiving the benefits of these developments.
The National Safety Council has designated every June as National Safety Month, and for June 2019, the special focus has been on workplace fatigue. This is a growing problem in North Carolina and across the U.S. with 13% of workplace injuries being attributable to it. In one study, 43% of Americans admitted to sometimes being too tired to do their job safely.
Workplace safety is a concern in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. Although there can be an accident in any kind of job, there are types of occupations in which the danger is higher. Combining that with the propensity of some industries to commit violations, workers can be in jeopardy.
Loading and unloading semitrailers in manufacturing plants, distribution centers and warehouses is fast-paced work that can quickly lead to injuries. Loading docks, where the center of receiving and unloading takes place, can be one of the most dangerous places to work in a facility. This is due to both the arduous nature of the work and the machinery that is used to assist in the tasks. Taking safety measures can help prevent needless injuries from occurring.
Workplace safety is a top priority for OSHA. It created the NFPA 70E standard several years ago to ensure that workers in North Carolina and throughout the country are safe from electrical hazards. Ideally, companies will see the standard as a set of guidelines that can be followed to their benefit. By keeping electrical hazards to a minimum, businesses will have fewer injuries that reduce productivity and cost them money.
According to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, a serious injury is any incident that causes a person to miss five or more days of work. These injuries in North Carolina and other states are categorized and ranked to find out which incidents are causing the biggest problems for employers and employees. The leading cause in all types of industries was overexertion involving outside sources, which costs the economy more than $13 billion every year.
Employers and employees in North Carolina should focus more on eliminating risks than establishing rigid safety protocols. One key reason is that workers tend to think of workplace safety as something that their employers do on their own. However, workers are acutely aware of the risks that they face whenever performing a task. By focusing more on eliminating risks as opposed to imposing safety tasks, they are more likely to take ownership of the process.
Farm workers in North Carolina and across the U.S. may be in danger of developing back pain as a result of the vibrations caused by farm machinery. In a NIOSH-funded study, researchers from the University of Iowa examined vibration levels for 112 pieces of machinery as they were being used by 55 farmers. The machines included tractors, combines, forklifts, bobcats and ATVs.
From 2014 to 2018, Tesla was issued a total of 54 OSHA violations. This is three times higher than all the OSHA violations combined that were issued to all the other top 10 auto plants in the U.S. Nissan came in second with five violations, followed by Toyota and Ford with four violations. North Carolina residents may wonder why Tesla's number is so high.
Workers in North Carolina and throughout the country could face serious harm if exposed to carbon monoxide. On Feb. 12, OSHA sent out a notice to employers reminding them of their duties to keep employees safe from the gas. Carbon monoxide can be most dangerous to workers when they are in poorly ventilated spaces or buildings. The gas itself is odorless and colorless, which makes it almost impossible to be detected without the help of equipment.