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OSHA blames employer for fatal workplace injury that killed 2

Grain bin operators in Oklahoma and other states are responsible for the safety of their employees. The most significant hazard these workers face is engulfment. For this reason, compliance with the safety regulations prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is essential. The slightest safety violation could cause a fatal workplace injury.

Sadly, noncompliance by a business owner in a neighboring state resulted in the deaths of two employees. Following an investigation, OSHA has added this grain bin operator to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. A spokesperson for the safety agency says grain is like quicksand, and any worker risks his or her life by entering a bin without the necessary personal protective equipment.

OSHA plans initiative to protect teens from workplace injuries

Summer break in Oklahoma is the time for many teenagers to get a taste of work life and earn an income that will make them less dependent on their parents. Safety authorities warn that inexperience, over-eagerness and the desire to satisfy employers often lead to serious workplace injuries among teen workers. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently undertook to provide youth, administrators and educators with safety guidelines.

The agency will launch the National Youth Safety Initiative that is a two-year program that will provide resources and information about common safety hazards that young workers encounter. Together, they will promote health and safety awareness in both technical and career education programs to prepare young workers. Some of their teachings will focus on the agriculture, construction and health care industries.

Asphalt paver topples over to cause fatal workplace injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation into an incident that caused the death of a worker in Oklahoma. Naturally, the family of the worker, who had three younger brothers, are devastated and eager to know precisely what led to the fatal workplace injury their loved one suffered. A Tulsa police spokesperson says the death was an accident.

Reportedly, the deceased man was an employee of an asphalt company. Tulsa Police report that the worker was attempting to navigate a paver that needed maintenance onto a flatbed trailer. For unknown reasons, the machine lurched and jumped, ejecting the operator off the flatbed. The paver toppled over and landed on top of the worker.

Summer months time for more workplace injuries and heat illness

Construction workers in Oklahoma face a variety of hazards every day. However, with the arrival of summer, the chances of workplace injuries and illness are significantly increased. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict regulations to protect employees from heat-related illnesses, not all employers comply. For that reason, workers should know their rights and become familiar with OSHA regulations.

Every year sees thousands of workers suffering from heat-related illnesses, and some even lose their lives. These situations are preventable, and workers are entitled to protection. Employees who work outdoors in the sun can make sure they work in pairs. Such a buddy system will allow them to watch each other for telltale signs of heat illness. If caught early, only shade and fresh water is necessary to prevent the development of more severe conditions like heat stroke.

National Forklift Safety Day underscores workplace injury hazards

Businesses nationwide, including in Oklahoma, recognize National Forklift Safety Day in June every year. This collaboration between the Industrial Truck Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will aim to remind employers and employees of the importance of forklift safety to prevent workplace injury incidents. OSHA inspectors will also receive relevant training at this time.

Along with the safe operation of forklifts, the need for routine daily quality tests of the equipment to identify potential problems, and the importance of forklift operator training will be underscored. Furthermore, operators will learn that different types of lift trucks, such as motorized hand trucks and high-lift rider trucks, pose different hazards. They type of facility, and the pedestrian movements of each business also play a role in the types of dangers posed by forklifts.

Workplace injuries: Complicated claims might need legal counsel

Many employees in Oklahoma are unfamiliar with the procedures to follow when filing workers' compensation claims. Victims of workplace injuries have every right to seek legal counsel for assistance with the claims process. While simple claims might be straightforward, complexities in some cases can pose many stumbling blocks.

Complications can arise when an employer objects to a workers' compensation claim, or discriminates or retaliates against a worker who filed a claim for benefits. Some employers fail to carry the required insurance or, if they do, awarded benefits might not be paid out correctly. Problems may arise if the insurer challenges the medical treatment options, or it might claim that the injury was a pre-existing condition and therefore not covered.

Some workplace injuries are preventable

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says between six and seven million construction workers risk their lives on building sites nationwide every day. Many of those are in Oklahoma, and regardless of whether they work on high rises or single story residential projects, hazards are plentiful. Although employers are responsible for employee safety, each worker can take specific precautionary steps to avoid workplace injuries.

The first safety aspect is never to avoid training sessions, even if it covers known ground, it can prevent complacency and keep workers aware of potential hazards and how to deal with them. Next is never to avoid wearing personal protective equipment -- even if a dangerous task will take up only a few minutes. Retrieving a tool from a slanted roof might take only five minutes, but slipping and falling off a roof will happen in the blink of an eye -- which makes the short time it would have taken to strap on a fall harness worthwhile.

Prevention might be better than cure for workplace injuries

Workers in all industries are exposed to safety hazards, regardless of whether they work in offices, grocery stores or construction sites. Some risks are universal, and many employees in Oklahoma might not realize that they can ask their employer to arrange or provide safety training. Knowing how to cope with different safety hazards can benefit both employer and employee, and if training occurs at frequent intervals, the complacency that can cause workplace injuries can be avoided.

Ergonomics play an important role in every occupation. It involves the ease and comfort of job-related movements -- particularly those that are strenuous or repetitive. Ergonomic changes can be made to workstations to suit the employee. It can prevent physical problems, such as those that can develop in line workers who repeat the same motions in production lines or data capturers who type on keyboards or manipulate a mouse for hours on end.

Grain engulfment can cause fatal workplace injuries

During the recent national Stand-Up for Engulfment Prevention Week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration used the opportunity to remind private grain companies in Oklahoma and other states that the hazards their workers face are as severe as those faced by employees of large grain and feed operations. Part of the focus during this campaign was on the three situations that are the most frequent causes of engulfment injuries. Many of these workplace injuries have tragic consequences.

One hazard is the clogging of unloading equipment. Workers sometimes enter the bins without giving a thought to shutting off the power. What they do not realize is that the grain will move quickly as soon as the debris is removed. Everything in the bin, including the worker, will be forcefully sucked in with the grain flow, and engulfment or entrapment in the unloading device can happen in the blink of an eye.

Workplace injuries: Research reveals new hearing-loss hazards

Different hazards pose different types of health risks to employees in all industries across Oklahoma. Not all workplace injuries are noticeable, and while open wounds and fractured bones happen in all workplaces, injuries such as hearing loss are also prevalent but often disregarded. However, cuts and broken bones can heal while hearing loss is permanent, and for this reason, safety agencies advise more hearing conservation.

Although some industries are known to produce excessive noise that threatens employees, researchers recently reported that AFFH industries pose significant hearing-loss hazards. This industry sector comprises of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting within which the hearing tests of 17,300 employees were analyzed. Researchers say a significant percentage of those had suffered noise-related hearing loss.

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