It is understood by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that drug and alcohol induced impairment creates an unnecessary danger in the workplace. That is why OSHA encourages drug-free workplace programs. Work environments like construction or electric utility sites are potentially quite hazardous on their own, but substance abuse creates an extra danger to workers. Machine operation and things of that nature can be fatal if not done with extremely care.
A complete and well put together drug-free workplace plan includes several things. Good programs need supervisor training, drug testing, employee assistance and education, and clear policy. Some people might argue that drug testing could be an invasion of privacy. The fact of the matter is that if the work environment will be safer for everyone, it is worth it. Employers should, however, be aware that employees do have certain rights.
What if someone tests positive for drugs? That is what the employee assistance is for. Professional assistance finding the reasons why people do drugs, and helping them get through it is an important part of an effective drug-free workplace program.
The Delaware Drug Free Workplace Alliance is an optional program that many businesses have joined in an effort to improve worker safety and health. Random drug testing and pre-employment drug screening are a common part of individual company policies. This country is committed to cooperating with employers, unions, and others to protect worker safety and health.
The Occupational Safety and health Administration wants all employers to be aware that they have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in their company’s environment. Each employer has the ability to protect their business from the affects of alcohol and drug abuse. Encouraging employees who have issues with alcohol and drugs to look for help is effective. Educating employees about the relevant dangers is also a way that employers can help make their workplace safe.
The standards of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, require that every room in a workplace must be clean and dry. One of the best measures an employer can take to prevent accidents is to prominently display large posters with slips, trips, and falls warnings. These could be a good reminder to employers to be more cautions. It is better to immediately clean up an accidental spill or alert the cleaning staff of any problem, rather than risk injury.
OSHA has jurisdiction over most private employers in the U.S. The standards regarding slips, trips and falls apply to permanent places of employment, but exclude mining operations, agriculture and areas where only domestic work takes place. OSHA has separate but similar requirements for temporary places of employment.
OSHA recently reported that slips, trips and falls comprise a large number of general industry accidents. It is a striking fact because it represents the 15 percent of all accidental deaths, and is the second cause of fatalities. Motor vehicle accidents are the greatest cause of workplace fatalities.
The Delaware OSHA recommends updating the Slips Trips Falls posters with the OSHA standards printed, and developing a strong and complete program to prevent accidents. Enough space to work and to move inside a business is crucial to be successful in this matter. Narrow passageways are the cause of many accidents. For example, many people are injured trying to leave a building in case of a fire or other emergency. Another example is that accidents can occur handling equipment in aisles that are too narrow. That could cause injury to employees but also damage the equipment.
Poor housekeeping is one important reason for slips, trips and falls. Frequently, employers don’t pay attention to this problem. Good sanitary conditions are important everywhere, including places of work, passageways, warehouses and service rooms. Holes, protruding nails and splinters must be repaired in every floor in throughout the workplace, and aisles and corridors should be free of obstacles.
Although no pandemic exists at the moment, the Delaware OSHA alert makes it clear that employers and employees alike should prepare in case a pandemic does occur.
Most people don’t think of the flu as a workplace hazard, but a recent South Dakota OSHA alert makes it clear it is. When you think about influenza, or the flu, you probably think about the seasonal disease that appears each fall and winter. We associate the flu with annoying, uncomfortable symptoms. Many don’t consider it a threat to anyone except infants, seniors, and people whose immune systems are compromised.
But the flu can be more than a seasonal annoyance as this South Dakota OSHA alert points out. Even though most people have or develop a certain level of immunity to the common forms of the flu virus, the potential for an influenza pandemic exists.
If the virus were to be especially deadly, a pandemic could result in many deaths, cause disruptions to the social network of society, and have a massive impact on the global economy.
The Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 to 1920 killed up to 5% of the world’s population. Only one South Seas Island, with a population under 100, was spared.
One concern at the moment is the avian influenza, which most people know as the bird flu. Much has been written about the avian influenza, or bird flu. This virus, found in wild birds, has spread to domestic birds, including chickens and turkeys. In a few cases, the virus has spread from birds to humans. The concern is if the virus mutates so it easily spreads from birds to humans, a pandemic could occur.
This raises the concern that the virus could mutate so that it easily passes from birds to humans, resulting in a pandemic. Another likely scenario is that a familiar form of influenza could cause a pandemic.
Wet floors and crowded hallways are two of the main causes of slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. Cleaning up and posting an updated Slips Trips Falls Poster are ways employers can enhance safety and comply with revised Delaware OSHA standards.
Slips, trips, and falls are a more serious source of injury than is often realized. According to OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – slips, trips, and falls follow only motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death. They represent 15% of all accidental deaths, and are probably the number one accident issue in industry generally.
OSHA is urging all employers to put up an updated Slips Trips Falls Poster in a prominent place, reminding everyone in the workplace to clean up spills and spots. Housekeeping, according to OSHA, is one of the most overlooked ways to prevent those slips, trips, and falls. OSHA standards require that every workroom floor must be clean and dry. But if a “wet” process is used in the industry, there are some required ways of mitigating the danger. They include raised platforms, gratings, mats, and drainage.
Protruding nails, splinters, loose boards, or holes are targeted in the Delaware OSHA standards. They are prohibited in every passageway and workplace and on every floor. Permanent aisles and passageways must be marked. They must be kept repaired, clear, and free of hazardous obstructions. The aisles must be wide enough to accommodate mechanical equipment, where it is used. They must be wide enough for two people to pass. Messy, narrow aisles can result in damaged material and equipment, injured workers, and blocked emergency exits. When people are hurrying to get out of a building, accidents from tripping and falling are a likely occurrence.
The revised standards apply to virtually all permanent work places. The only exceptions are places where mining, domestic, or agricultural work alone is being done.
In industry, forklifts are fitted with numerous attachments to increase their usefulness. A recent state publication highlights some of the risks of improperly operating a forklift with attachments.
These attachments may include boom extensions, hoppers, rug rams, drum carriers, drum rotators, cylinder caddies and drum grippers. Many of these modifications are seen more often in the manufacturing industry. A load that is well under the maximum capacity of the vehicle but is too far forward, towards the fork tips, can easily create unstable conditions.
According to a Delaware OSHA publication, it’s important for employers and employees to remember that any forklift attachment may have an impact on the equipment’s safety rating. Every modification or addition should be approved by the forklift manufacturer, in writing, in advance. When a modification is made, the truck’s capacity, operation and maintenance instruction plates (tags, or decals) must be changed to reflect the new limitations of the equipment.
The fork extension and the weight of the attachment must be considered part of the load. This reduces the forklift’s total capacity. Whenever moving a load, keep it as low as possible during travel. If the forklift steering seems “light,” the truck is unstable and the operator has very little control over it. Adding more weight to the rear of the forklift does not improve stability. Instead, it moves the forklift’s center of gravity near the rear axel, and unstable pivot point.
Did you know that there are about 1.5 million workers in the U.S. who operate forklifts? Forklifts are more properly called Powered Industrial Trucks, or PITs. Sometimes they are referred to as fork trucks. Whatever you call them, forklifts are used in all industries and are one of the most common causes of serious injuries and fatalities among workers.
Although forklifts appear simple to operate, they pose a number of safety risks. These include the risk of the forklift tipping over due to an improper load balance.