The Oklahoma Department of Transportation recently urged drivers to be cautious when they travel through the construction zones of the project at the interchange of the I-235 and I-44. In an attempt to cut down on the number of workplace injuries that happen all too often in construction zones, safety authorities are asking vehicle operators to look out for workers and not to exceed the posted speed limits. One construction worker likened working in a construction zone to having a big rig drive through an office or another workplace at 75 mph.
Strangely, most people will take precautions to prevent all kinds of workplace accidents without protecting their hands, which are essential for almost every job they do. Severe workplace injuries to a person's fingers or hands will not only limit his or her ability to continue working but also affect the individual's quality of life. Safety authorities say that as many as one million work-related hand injuries are treated nationwide every year, including in Oklahoma.
Every workplace poses safety hazards regardless of the industry. Working on an oil rig or a construction site might be hazardous, but so is working in a hospital or an office. All Oklahoma workers must be familiar with the steps to take in the event of workplace injuries. Even if injuries seem minor, hidden symptoms might lead to workers' compensation claims down the road.
Workers in Oklahoma often do not stop to think about the importance of their hands, which are essential for every job they do. Employers often fail to include hand and finger safety in safety training, while serious injuries that could have life-altering consequences can happen in the blink of an eye. Safety authorities say that about one million employees nationwide get treatment for hand-related workplace injuries each year.
Oklahoma workers in all industries face safety risks, regardless of whether they work on construction sites, behind office desks, doing landscaping or other work environments. Some injury types are typical to specific industries, such as scaffold-related accidents in construction, and equipment-related workplace injuries in manufacturing. However, some workers have to deal with uncommon occupational hazards.
According to the American Safety Council, the effect of fatigue on people is similar to that of alcohol. It underscores the dangers that could be created by sleep-deprived workers nationwide, including in Oklahoma. Major industrial catastrophes have been linked to mistakes made by fatigued workers. Thousands of fatal workplace injuries have resulted from scheduling workers for weeks of extended shifts with no time to catch up on lost sleep.
When employers task employees with jobs for which they do not have the necessary qualification or certification, the consequences could be severe. This appears to have been the case in a scaffold collapse that caused workplace injuries to five workers in Oklahoma. Authorities say neither the workers nor their employer were licensed to do the work that was done.
Farm workers in Oklahoma are not always fully informed about the many hazards they face. Many workplace injuries could have long-term consequences, and many are life-threatening. Some employers in the agriculture industry neglect to ensure that employees understand the risks posed by grain bins and silos.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the pressure and demands on workers in turkey processing plants in Oklahoma and other states might ease slightly. However, the worldwide market for these birds is snowballing, and economic researchers estimate global production in 2019 to be about 30 million pounds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says poultry processing shows a rate of workplace injuries and illnesses that is 60 percent higher than in other industries.
Regardless of how effective the safety protocols of any Oklahoma business are, accidents will happen. Some types of workplace injuries are more common than others, and compliance with the guidelines and regulations set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration might limit occurrences. An effective near-miss report system might also keep workers out of the hospital.