Although businesses aren’t required to establish drug-free workplaces, the Connecticut Drug Free Workplace Alliance hopes that they will. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, has formed an alliance to work with unions and contractor associations. The focus of this alliance is to protect workers by encouraging businesses to create drug-free workplaces.
Alcohol and drug abuse problems in the workplaces can really cost employers. For instance, employees with abuse problems may miss more work. They also may make more mistakes and have more accidents. In fact, OSHA maintains that the majority of fatal workplace auto accidents involved abuse or either alcohol or drugs.
To help keep both their employees and their businesses safe, employers can start by educating employees on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. They also can help employees who have problems by encouraging them to take advantage of available help. Many companies also use both pre-employment drug testing and random testing to help create a drug-free workplace.
Employers need to take five steps if they want to use a comprehensive approach when creating a drug-free workforce. The first step is to formulate a policy. After that, supervisors need to be trained on the policy. Next, employees need to be educated on the policy and the dangers of abuse. Following that, employers need to establish some form of assistance for employees with alcohol or drug problems. Finally, although they need to consider the privacy of employees, employers should establish an approach toward drug testing.
OSHA feels that abuse problems in the workplace are avoidable. When employers create drug-free workplaces, they not only improve their own businesses, they also help strengthen the nation. Maintaining a drug-free workforce is very important, especially in businesses where dangerous machinery is involved. Employers need to make certain that employees aren’t impaired by alcohol or drugs when operating such machinery.
Under the new regulations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, the soldiers have the right to return to their civilian jobs when they come back from military service. Not only that, the employers must reemploy the veterans to the same job, and with the same remuneration and benefits. They must consider the time in the military as time in the company. In many circumstances, the workers are also entitled to annual remuneration increases and adjustments of their income to inflation. In some test cases, the veterans were eligible to promotions based in the years of seniority. The time of military service was included as time in the position.
The new rules, recently released by the Department of Labor, clarify the enforcement of USERRA. The regulations protect the members of the National Guard and the Reserve. Signed in 1994, USERRA covers the rights of veterans to return to their civilian jobs.
The Department of Labor requires that every company display Connecticut USERRA posters. The posters must contain updated and correct information.
One of the main rules of USERRA is that every soldier has a 5-year protection to their civilian jobs. The 5-year period is cumulative. An employee with 4 years in the service has another year of job protection. The periodic training time of National Guard or Reserve is not included to the 5 years. If an employee remains at military service for more than 5 years with no interruptions, she or he do not loose their rights and can solicit the reemployment when she or he come back from the military. The eligibility of the individual to the benefit is the most important criteria. Other criteria like timing, duration or frequency of the service are considered, but are secondary.
The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) assists those who need help with claims under USERRA. VETS is a division of the Department of Labor.
Connecticut worker safety is endangered by on-the-job accidents.
Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in Connecticut, 270,890 back injuries occurred. Falls at work accounted for 255,750 accidents. And 503,530 workers suffered from tears, strains, and sprains.
Nationwide and in Connecticut, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is looking into millions of injuries every year.
Here are some of the startling numbers for 2005, the last year for which statistics are available:
4,214,200 on-the-job accidents occurred.
5,702 workers died in workplace accidents.
1,234,700 workdays were lost as a result of accidents at work.
The numbers show that the results are often lost work time, lost pay, high-cost medical care, and lawsuits.
But the figures are just part of the picture. They represent only work in the private sector. Not included are non-profit jobs. Neither do they reflect public service positions, such as paramedical service, police work, and firefighting.
The figures also offer a surprising statistic about a category of accident that is usually seen as annoying at worst. Slips, trips, and falls are the second most frequent causes of death on the job after driving. Work related driving, statistics show, killed 1,258 employees in 2005. By comparison, slips, trips and falls resulted in 732 deaths – more than half the rate of driving-related fatalities.
According to OSHA, education is the key to slowing the rate of injuries and deaths at work. A solid safety program in the workplace offers reminders to employees about the importance of safety. It shows them how to use appropriate safety methods.
To promote workplace education, OSHA is making available what it calls the Workplace Safety Pack. It comes in the form of simple information for avoiding serious and painful injuries on the job. Featured are three posters – Workstation Safety Tips, Lifting Safely, and Slips, Trips and Falls. And the package includes “Workplace Ergonomics.”
What’s new with the Connecticut Worker Safety? I thought you would never ask. It seems to be that PIT safety is the hot topic. What is a PIT, you say? PIT stands for powered industrial truck, or by a more common name: forklift.
According to a recent article in a state safety magazine, not following Connecticut worker safety regulations when using a forklift is a big and dangerous deal. One and a half million workers in the nation operate forklifts. Apparently, forklift accidents are one of the most common causes of severe or even fatal work-related injuries.
So, what are the regulations? First of all, it is important to adhere to the maximum capacity labeled on the forklift. That’s “Forklift Use 101” but did you know that there is danger even with a light load? If a light load isn’t placed on the forks properly it can cause instability. The weight should be evenly distributed between the two forks. The load center of gravity should not be too far forward.
Did you know that attachments to forklift have to be approved? All modifications should be approved by the manufacturer. If you want to add a boom extension, rug ram, drum rotator, or something similar, you have to get permission. If the manufacturer doesn’t give approval, you might be able to get around it. An RPE, Registered Professional Engineer, may be able to grant the permission for a forklift modification. Don’t be upset with the manufacturers if they don’t answer or deny the change. Sometimes they aren’t familiar with the attachment, and for safety reasons, don’t want to approve something they aren’t sure about.
Another thing about attachments: they count towards maximum capacity. If you do get the go ahead to add an attachment, make sure you update the label with the changes. With an extension, forklifts won’t be able to safely handle the total initial maximum weight.
The way to stay alive is to stay out.
Abandoned and active mines can be a danger to Connecticut worker safety as well as children and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Outdoor workers in many fields are hurt after falling into mine shafts. Children trespass on or wander onto old, abandoned mining property. More than 200 people have died in accidents on mine property since 1999 alone.
The U.S. Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has adopted a “Stay Out – Stay Alive” program. The program is an attempt to curb the problem by warning about the deadly dangers that can befall workers or others who find themselves on mine property.
Children are among those killed in mine accidents. Workers from unrelated industries may fall into mine shafts. Or they may suffer other types of accidents on the properties of active or abandoned mines.
Richard Stickler, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, says there are about 500,000 abandoned mines and another 14,000 active ones in the U.S. Many of them contain hidden hazards and the outcome can be deadly for those not trained to work in mines. “That’s why we urge workers, hikers, bikers, rock hounds and swimmers are being urged to ‘Stay Out – Stay Alive.’”
The MSHA’s program involves public service announcements. They warn people from mistakenly going onto mine property, whether for work or for play. Mine health and safety officials from the federal government will visit schools and scouting groups, as well as other organizations to warn youngsters about the dangers.
Some of the dangers of underground abandoned mines are a threat to both workers and explorers. Shafts may be hundreds of feet deep, hidden beneath a deceptive layer of boards that can often be rotted or decaying. The boards may break under light weight. Tunnels may cave in. They may be flooded. They may have poisonous snakes or insects. There may be deadly gases. Explosives may be scattered across the property. These misfired or unused explosives, such as blasting caps, can be set off by a mere jiggle.