Pennsylvania construction workers know their job is dangerous, and a new report by the AFL-CIO proves it. The report, which examines safety and health protections for American workers, shows that 4,821 workers across all industries were killed on the job around the country in 2014. The construction industry accounted for the largest number of those deaths, with 899. The construction industry also reported the most deaths of Latino workers, with 233. Deaths of immigrant Latino construction workers have seen a 32 percent increase since 2010.
Employers in Pennsylvania and around the country are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to keep records of most work-related injuries and illnesses. However, there are some exceptions to OSHA's record-keeping requirements. If an employee's workplace injury is a direct result of 'personal grooming, self-medication for a non-work related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted," the injury does not have to be recorded.
On April 3, two railroad workers were killed when an Amtrak train struck a backhoe in Pennsylvania. The accident occurred just before 8 a.m.
Pennsylvania workers may be interested in reading about a Canadian study showing how a sleep disorder can have detrimental effects on a person's workday. The study, which was conducted from May 2003 to July 2011 at a British Columbia sleep clinic and involved more than 1,200 patients, found that obstructive sleep apnea increases the likelihood for on-the-job injuries.
While some employees in Pennsylvania and other states might rely on workers' compensation benefits when an on-the-job injury occurs, others take advantage of the insurance employers are required to purchase for their workers. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimated that fraudulent workplace compensation claims total as much as $7.2 billion annually. Surveillance and social media helps companies ensure that injury claims are valid.
Pennsylvania residents may have heard about a mobile construction crane that collapsed in New York City in February, killing a pedestrian. Manhattan was also the site of two fixed-place, or "tower," crane collapses that claimed the lives of nine people in 2008. According to federal and private inspectors, most crane operators are well trained by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. However, some safety advocates are pushing for a federal certification system to ensure all crane operators meet uniform training standards.
Pennsylvania companies can take steps to make their workplaces safer. Having the right safety equipment and equipment for lifting is important as are safety protocols. Being safe should not come second to increasing productivity. That same principle of prioritizing safety over productivity should be followed when creating employee schedules.
Pennsylvania companies that rely on scissor lifts to help their staff access elevated jobs may be able to do more to protect their personnel. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that of the more than 20 scissor-lift injuries and 10 fatalities it investigated in a single year, the majority were caused by employers not providing proper fall protection, placement or stability safeguards.
Refuse and recyclable material collectors in Pennsylvania perform one of the nation's most dangerous jobs. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, garbage collectors ranked fifth on the list of American civilian occupations with the highest rate of fatal injuries in 2014. With a fatal injury rate of 35.8 per 100,000 full-time workers in that year, garbage and recycling collectors were more at risk of dying on the job than farmers, steel workers, truck drivers and electrical power line workers.
When a Pennsylvania worker is servicing or maintaining a machine, the release of stored energy could cause a serious injury. The injury could be caused by the release of steam from a valve or an electrical short that shocks a worker. Each year, there are 3 million workers who service machines and are exposed to hazardous injury. Those workers spend an average of 24 workdays recovering in the event that they are hurt.