At least half of the severe injuries suffered each year by workers in Texas and around the country are not reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to a report released on Sept. 13 by the Department of Labor. The DOL's Office of Inspector General concludes in the report that changes made to OSHA's record-keeping rules, which were implemented in January 2015, have done little to address the issue.
Slip, trips and falls that occur in Texas workplaces can result in serious injuries for workers. Because these types of injuries can have a major impact on an employee's health and ability to work, employers should be diligent in uncovering and preventing these types of injuries from occurring.
Employers in Texas could pay a high cost for failing to keep their workers safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cost of a worker's life is about $1 million. This takes into account legal fees, medical costs and workers' compensation expenses. Furthermore, an accident that is caused by an employer's willful negligence could lead to an OSHA fine of $129,336.
Texas workers could find various parts of their body at risk from exposure to machinery in the workplace. The term "pinch point" is used to define any part of a machine that could catch a person or a part of their body between moving parts, between moving and stationary parts or between materials and the machine itself. There can be a number of different pinch points that workers encounter when dealing with machinery on the job, including robotic machines, conveyor belts, power presses, metal forming and construction machines, rollers, assembly devices, power doors and hatches, plastic molding mechanisms, printing presses and power transmission equipment.
A report detailing the results of a yearlong study commissioned by the National Institute for Occupational Safety, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that workers in Texas and around the country would be better protected if the three federal agencies were shared more data and worked together more closely to regulate employers and enforce workplace safety regulations. The conclusions were announced in a statement released to the press on Jan. 9.
The number of women who work in construction is increasing in Texas and in other areas. The National Association of Women in Construction has teamed up with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to try to make working conditions safer for women.
Although Texas does not experience the extreme winter weather of other regions, the season still brings cooler temperatures that could expose workers to hazards. Outdoor workers should take precautions to avoid injury or illness when the temperatures dip.
Texas workers should know that a person's age is not as much of a factor as it used to be when it pertains to being employed. This is attributed to the fact that an increasing number of workers are postponing their retirement. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of people in the United States who are 65 years or older and who work either full-time of part-time jumped from 12.8 percent in May 2000 to 18.8 percent in May 2016.
Texas warehouse workers should be aware of the publication released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding an incident in which a worker who was on a pallet that was elevated by a forklift fell and died from the injuries he incurred. The worker had slipped while he was on the pallet rearranging inventory and fell down 7 feet.
Busy workers in Texas often rely on the safety systems put in place by employers to alert them to workplace hazards. People charged with evaluating risks, especially in distribution centers and warehouses, should consider all three dimensions of the workplace environment. These workplaces often have multiple levels, such as loading docks, mezzanines and elevated platforms, that give workers access to racks of inventory.