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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Pneumoconioses in the workplace

Pneumoconiosis is a form of interstitial lung disease, or lung disease that causes scarring to lung tissue. The most common types of pneumoconiosis are asbestosis, silicosis and black lung, which is properly called coal workers' pneumoconiosis. Workers in New Jersey should be aware that these are all caused by the inhalation of certain particles. In the above-mentioned cases, the particles would be asbestos fibers, silica dust and coal mine dust.

Dust containing other elements like aluminum, graphite, iron and talc can lead to pneumoconiosis, but this is not as frequently reported. Workers who develop asbestosis, silicosis or black lung disease may not show any symptoms until years later. By that time, they may experience lung impairment and disabilities.

Preventing teen work injuries during the summer

Summer is considered by many workers to be the most dangerous season of the year. Those that operate outside are at risk of developing heat illnesses. Some companies bring in larger crowds around this time of year and could potentially push their workers too hard. It requires alert and experienced hard workers to ensure that operations go smoothly and safely.

However, summer is also the peak time for many companies to bring in newer and much younger recruits. Many high school and college students are taking summer jobs to pay off their expenses. While an extra set of hands can help speed up a workplace, the inexperience of these workers could present a large risk to you, your coworkers and the teens themselves. As these new employees start settling in, keep these safety tips in mind to avoid any serious incidents.

Keeping workers safe around loading docks

Loading docks can be a dangerous area for workers in New Jersey to find themselves in. The good news is that there are basic steps that companies can take to minimize the opportunity for an accident to occur. One such step is to provide training as it relates to using forklifts. To comply with OSHA regulations, employees should be taught how to use the specific machines that they will be working with on the job.

Workers should be equipped with safety gear such as footwear that won't cause them to skid or slide on a dock floor. They should also be given protection for their ears, eyes and face. Helmets may protect employees from objects falling from shelves or similar objects. The dock itself should be dry and in good condition at all times. Doing so may prevent workers from slipping, tripping or falling.

Drowsy driving signs and dangers

Being drowsy behind the wheel can be as dangerous as being drunk. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, someone who has been awake for 24 hours straight has the same impairment level as an individual with a blood alcohol content of .10. For reference, .08 is legal maximum BAC for drivers in New Jersey. For those who find themselves tired while driving, there are some tips to stay alert.

According to an associate professor of neurology, every driver should take a break around every two hours. Signs of drowsy driving include yawning or blinking frequently, drooping eyelids, drifting out of traffic lanes, missing exits or road signs and not remembering the previous few minutes of driving. All of these are signs it's time for a break from the road.

NIOSH joins effort to prevent falls in construction

Construction site owners in New Jersey should be aware that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, 310 construction workers die every year in falls, and 10,350 are seriously injured. In the effort to prevent falls, NIOSH has released a fact sheet on roof, scaffold and ladder safety for both employers and workers.

The fact sheet stresses the importance of adequate training. Employers must additionally have a fall protection program in place for roof workers and have them use the buddy system. Fall arrest systems should have the correct anchorage. It's also best to monitor the weather.

Protecting your skin in the work place

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and its first line of defense against external threats. That makes protecting your skin important. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that employers subject 13 million employees to skin hazards every year. These hazards stem from chemical, mechanical and physical sources. Effects of these hazards can not only affect your self-esteem but your physical health too.

Everyone should be aware of potentially hazardous agents throughout their workplace.

Technology could help prevent workplace injuries

Construction workers in New Jersey may face a range of dangers on the job. They often deal with heavy equipment and complicated machinery, and they may work on partially constructed buildings or other open structures. These problems are exacerbated by employers that fail to live up to federal standards for workplace safety, exposing construction workers to serious risks. Indeed, workers in construction lose their lives on the job five times as often as those in any other industry. On average, 14 people are killed every day while doing construction work.

Various types of construction accidents have also seen an escalation, with deadly workplace injuries related to being struck by equipment growing by 34 percent in the past 10 years. As a result, responsible companies, worker advocates and regulators have been looking for solutions that could provide a greater level of safety to employees in construction. Some are turning to technology for the answer, including adopting artificial intelligence mechanisms to increase workplace safety. There are several ways that AI could help make a construction site safer. Some of the riskiest events that happen on the job are a surprise of some kind, from equipment mishaps to serious falls.

Bill seeks workplace violence prevention in health care industry

In late 2018, a bill was introduced into the House of Representatives that would require OSHA to create a standard for keeping those in the health care and social services industries safe from workplace violence. On Feb. 27, 2019, the House Education and Labor Committee's Workforce Protections Subcommittee held a hearing about this proposal. New Jersey residents should know that the bill has more than 40 co-sponsors.

The bill is entitled the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The OSHA standard, if implemented, would apply to nurses, physicians, social workers, emergency responders and other caregivers.

Study links worker back pain with farm machine vibrations

Farm machines such as tractors, combines and skid loaders are known for vibrating at intense levels. The European Union has developed a system for measuring workers' exposure to whole-body vibrations, establishing an "action level" beyond which the vibrations may be detrimental to one's health. New Jersey residents should know that one NIOSH-funded study has reviewed the link between farm machine vibrations and back pain.

University of Iowa researchers attached floor and seat sensors to 112 pieces of farm machinery and measured vibration levels as 55 workers operated them. With the seat sensors, they analyzed how well the seats reduced floor vibrations. They concluded that 56 percent of the machines met the EU's action level for exposure after eight hours of operation and that nearly 30 percent met it after only two hours.

Tesla receives 54 OSHA violations from 2014 to 2018

New Jersey residents who keep up with Tesla's developments in vehicle technology should know that the automaker surpassed all its competitors in the number of OSHA violations it has received. Between 2014 and 2018, its Fremont-based production facility was issued 54 violations. This is three times more than the top 10 auto plants combined and accounts for 75 percent of all their violations.

In comparison, Nissan came in second with only five violations in those five years. Toyota and Ford were third with four OSHA violations. At the same time, Tesla ranks seventh when it comes to estimated production capacity with 364,000 vehicles produced each year. It also has half the industry average of reportable incidents.

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