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Concern over number of trench cave-ins causing workplace injury

Construction workers in Oklahoma will likely all be exposed to the hazards associated with excavations, but not all of them realize that they are entitled to refuse to enter unprotected trenches. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every excavation has the potential to collapse or cave-in. Safety authorities are putting additional emphasis on trenching hazards and steps required to prevent incidents of workplace injury.

Due to the number of trench-related injuries and deaths nationwide, Compliance and Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) have been instructed to inspect any open trenches they come across in their day-to-day travels or during inspections. This is regardless of whether any safety violations were readily evident. According to OSHA standards, before the start of work every day, the protective systems in every trench must be inspected by a competent person because changing conditions could compromise the stability of trench walls overnight.

Workplace injuries caused by heavy machines could be catastrophic

Heavy equipment, such as bulldozers, dump trucks, front loaders, excavators and cranes, are present on almost all construction sites in Oklahoma. Safety authorities say a significant number of workplace injuries and fatalities involve mobile equipment. They say that construction workers who work on and around these big machines every day often become complacent, and that is when they are most vulnerable.

While heavy equipment poses an endless list of hazards, the two most common ones are struck-by and caught-in or caught-between accidents. An example of a struck-by accident is a swinging excavator bucket that strikes a worker on the ground or a dump truck that knocks down a pedestrian worker. A caught-in or between accident could be one in which a piece of heavy equipment pushes a worker and crushes him or her against another stationary, solid object.

Violations of LOTO procedures can cause workplace injuries

Industrial facilities in Oklahoma pose multiple equipment hazards, and violations of safety regulations can lead to electrocution, amputations and other catastrophic injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, almost all workplace injuries can be prevented. When it comes to the risks related to industrial equipment, compliance with lockout/tagout regulations is crucial.

Safety authorities say workers must be monitored to ensure they take no shortcuts. Complacency and rushing to get work done quicker often lead to workers disregarding LOTO regulations. Examples include a worker who goes home without removing a lock and another worker having to cut the lock to be able to use the machine.

Workplace injuries: OSHA says all fatal falls were preventable

Construction workers in Oklahoma and elsewhere earn their livings in some of the most hazardous work environments in the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls remain the cause of a significant portion of workplace injuries in this industry. They report that most of the fall victims wore inadequate or no fall protection

OSHA says all fatal falls were determined to have been preventable, and employers are advised to reduce fall accidents by establishing safety protocols and training workers in proper safety techniques. Safety starts at the beginning stages of any project when safety plans for the particular project must be incorporated. The necessary safety equipment such as personal protective equipment, scaffolds, ladders, guard rails and more must be specified in the plans.

Hazard awareness on the oilfields might limit workplace injuries

Following the fatal Oklahoma oil field accident in January, safety in the oil and gas industry has been the subject of many discussions and reports. Some suggest that awareness of typical hazards of the industry might save lives. Workers on oil fields might take precautions if they are fully informed of potential risks they will face. Surprisingly, vehicle accidents -- something to which most people would hardly give a second thought -- causes most workplace injuries on oil fields.

Burns are also frequently suffered by oil industry workers, typically caused by flammable liquids and vapor, hot work operations and hazardous chemicals. Communication and training programs for handling chemicals are crucial, and being equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment is vital. Caught-between, struck-by and slip-and-fall hazards make up a group of accidents that can cause severe injuries, although they are mostly preventable.

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.

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