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Critical workplace injury follows forklift accident

Forklifts are valuable tools in various industries in Oklahoma, from construction sites to fulfillment centers. Unfortunately, the dangers posed by these machines are not always recognized. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict safety standards related to the operation of forklifts. However, sight must not be lost of the workplace injury hazards these machines pose to other workers who share work areas with forklifts.

This danger was recently underscored by a forklift accident on the site of a museum renovation in another state. Reportedly, in an attempt to lift a vault, a metal access panel on the floor gave way, causing a 51-year-old worker to fall six feet into the basement below. To add to the tragedy, the 2,000-pound forklift also tumbled down onto the worker, crushing him.

Workers escape workplace injury in trench collapse

Trenches are some of the most dangerous areas on building sites nationwide, including Oklahoma. Employers must comply with strict safety standards to protect workers from circumstances that could lead to a workplace injury, and noncompliance can lead to citations and stiff fines. However, that does not seem to concern many construction company owners who continue to prioritize profits over employee safety.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors saved the lives of three construction workers when they ordered the workers out of an unprotected trench. The incident occurred during an OSHA review of a worksite. They reported that the trench was close to 13 feet deep, with no means of stabilizing the walls.

Top 10 safety violations that cause workplace injuries

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports the top 10 safety violation citations that were issued nationwide, including Oklahoma. This analysis serves different purposes, one of which is to underscore the importance of safety standard compliance in the prevention of workplace injuries. Safety authorities say the top 10 list also shows the level of compliance among U.S. business owners.

However, announcing these numbers seems to make little difference because the results for the fiscal year 2019 were very similar to those of FY 2018. The top 10 positions remained the same, except for last year's fourth and fifth positions trading places. This makes lockout/tagout citations number four and respiratory protection number five in FY 2019. The most prevalent category remained fall protection violations at number one; however, violations related to fall protection safety training came in number eight. It is also interesting to note that numbers three, five and seven -- scaffolds, ladders and industrial trucks -- also pose fall hazards.

Workplace injury causes death of welder with 25 years experience

An Oklahoma worker with 25 years of experience on the job has likely seen it all, but that doesn't mean that accidents can't happen. Sometimes, after so many years of doing the same work, it's easy to become a bit complacent. Many workers start taking shortcuts, and some even tend to disregard safety standards to get jobs done quicker, only to suffer a workplace injury.

A 46-year-old mechanic on a farm in another state succumbed to an occupational injury three months after an incident that involved a plasma torch and a drum that contained remnants of a flammable substance. Reportedly, the welder used the plasma torch to remove the drum lid without first checking whether the drum had been cleaned. A spark was caused upon the first contact of the flame with the drum, resulting in an explosion that caused the bottom of the drum to be blown off.

Workplace injuries: Firefighter's workers' comp claim denied

Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to save others. While most workers in Oklahoma can find comfort in knowing that the workers' compensation program would have their backs if they should suffer workplace injuries or occupational illnesses, firefighters might find it difficult to obtain benefits. Certain diseases are presumed work-related for firefighters, but the claims process could be daunting.

Under Oklahoma laws, respiratory system injuries, heart disease, infectious diseases and development of any type of cancer in firefighters are presumed to be conditions that result from workplace hazards inherent to their occupation. However, claims for compensation can be denied if contrary evidence can be shown. This could significantly complicate the claims process for affected firefighters.

Outdoor workers exposed to an endless list of workplace injuries

Outdoor workers in Oklahoma face countless hazards, depending on the type of work they do, the amount of time they spend working outside, the season and the particular region in which they work. Employers must inform workers of all the potential risks they may encounter. Employees must also receive safety training that will teach outdoor workers how to prevent workplace injuries.

The physical dangers of outdoor work include extreme heat that could lead to heat-related illnesses, some of which could be fatal. Excessive exposure to the UV rays of the sun could cause skin cancer. During winter, they will risk exposure to extreme cold, with consequences including frostbite, hypothermia and more. Extended periods of exposure to loud noise can result in irreversible hearing loss and tinnitus.

OSHA says safety violation caused fatal workplace injury

On May 22, an employee of an antenna and tower service provider based in Oklahoma lost his life while working in another state. The 47-year-old worker suffered a fatal workplace injury when he fell from a broadcast tower. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that the agency's investigators determined that this fatality could have been prevented.

According to an accident report, the worker was doing repairs 1,000 feet above ground level. While working on a process to hooking up an existing antenna, the worker reportedly had to reposition himself. To do that, he had to disconnect and reconnect his lanyard. For an unknown reason, he slipped and fell to his death.

What are the most prevalent causes of fatal workplace injuries?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 466 lives are lost per day in accidental deaths. While these numbers are not limited to occupational deaths, workplace injuries make up a significant percentage of the fatalities. The National Safety Council responded by stating that there are no such things as accidents. A spokesperson says not enough is done across the U.S., including Oklahoma, to prioritize workplace, home and road safety.

Of all the fatal injury categories, the only one to show an increase when compared to previous years is preventable injuries. Safety authorities say the opioid crisis is to blame for this. Reportedly, drug overdoses, auto crashes, falls, drownings, choking incidents and other preventable incidents are the causes of deaths, one of which is reported every three minutes.

Most construction site workplace injuries are preventable

Seeing a building project coming to fruition after months of planning is undoubtedly a satisfying experience for everybody involved in the undertaking. However, if proper planning is not continued throughout all stages, including construction, preventable workplace injuries can hurt the bottom line. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration tasks employers in Oklahoma with protecting employees from known workplace hazards.

Any job that involves physical work activities and various types of equipment and tools pose enormous risks of nonfatal injuries. These dangers are raised by both power and hand tools, heavy equipment, noise, pollution, flammable liquids and more. Struck-by and crushing hazards are significant, along with slip-and-fall risks, repetitive motion and musculoskeletal injuries caused by lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling heavy objects.

Workplace injury: What are the major hazards of trench work?

Construction workers in Oklahoma and across the country put their lives on the line when they work in trenches. Safety authorities hold an annual stand down in June each year, during which time they urge employers to remind workers of the hazards of excavation work. They must emphasize how compliance with safety standards can prevent trench-related workplace injury or death.

Cave-ins are the most significant hazards, and workers must never enter trenches when the walls are not secured by sloping, benching, shoring, or fitted with trench boxes. Accumulated water in an excavation must be pumped out because it can jeopardize the integrity of the walls. Atmospheric testing is crucial to monitor oxygen levels and the presence of toxic gases, which are known to collect in low-lying areas, and utility lines must be located and marked to prevent accidental strikes.

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