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.
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.
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.
New Jersey construction workers who are exposed to silica dust could face a significantly increased risk of serious illness and disease. According to one study, construction workers in bridge repair, chipping and crushing may be exposed to over 10 times the allowed limit of silica dust per federal OSHA workplace safety regulations. The study collected 51 samples of air in the personal breathing zones of construction workers involved in repairing bridges, demolishing buildings or crushing concrete.
Truckers in New Jersey and throughout the country may be at risk of injuring their shoulders when cranking lifts up and down. However, researchers say that there may be a method to do so while reducing the chances of an injury. A study of a dozen male truckers going through the cranking process revealed that they should lift a trailer while standing parallel to it. Doing so uses more of their body strength and puts less pressure on the shoulder.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for protecting worker safety and health in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. One of its primary duties is to identify potential causes of job-related injuries or illnesses and formulate procedures, equipment and training that must be used by employers to keep workers safe. But even if no specific OSHA standard has been established for a particular hazardous condition, there exists a general duty for all employers to protect their employees from recognized hazards that are present in the workplace.
Retail employees in New Jersey and throughout the country may appreciate having extra work during the holiday season. However, it can also come at the cost of their emotional and physical health. According to a 2016 survey from NIOSH, 24 percent of respondents said that their work schedules got in the way of family and other obligations. Employers should note that this can be a source of stress, and stressed-out workers may be more prone to making mistakes.
An increasing number of people in New Jersey and across the country work in temporary employment, often through agencies or other intermediaries. As a result, many of these workers are confused about their rights and protections in case they are injured on the job. In particular, they could be worried if they face ongoing workplace safety violations that put them at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made recommendations for practices to improve protections for temp workers on the job.
New Jersey workers often face dangerous environments on the job, especially if their employers violate federal workplace safety regulations. At the 2018 National Safety Council Congress, a deputy director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed the federal agency's top 10 safety violations uncovered during a year of inspections. The statistics were gathered from October 2017 through September 2018, yet the results often mirrored those of previous years.
In response to the increase in worker injuries and fatalities from trenching and excavation operations, OSHA has revised the National Emphasis Program that it set up specifically for this field. The revised NEP went into effect Oct. 1, and now OSHA's area and regional offices are providing outreach. Employers in New Jersey will want to make sure they comply with OSHA's safety standards.