Some employers may have questions about a recent Georgia Worker Safety alert issued to warn employers of an unexpected danger.
What was the alert about?
To warn employers about the hazards All-Terrain Vehicles can pose in the workplace, Georgia OSHA issued an alert recently. The focus of this bulletin was to remind employers of the guidelines they should follow for correct All-Terrain Vehicle operation. In addition, the bulletin explained the importance of training employees who will operate the vehicles.
Are All-Terrain Vehicles used often in the workplace?
All-Terrain Vehicles, also known as ATVs, are being used more frequently in the workplace all the time. Industries such as law enforcement, agriculture, construction, and facilities management like to use these vehicles.
Are All-Terrain Vehicles dangerous?
Because ATVs are often used recreationally, and even driven by children, people may not realize the dangers they pose. ATVs can roll-over, causing the driver to suffer injuries or perhaps even die. In the last 10 years, 800,000 injuries were reported during recreational use. In 1982, a total of 29 people died in ATV-related accidents. In 2004, a total of 470 people died in ATV-related accidents.
Have employees been injured using ATVs at work?
Yes. During the last ten years, 100 employees lost their lives driving ATVs at work. Employees face the same risk of an ATV accident that recreational drivers face.
What can employers do to prevent these accidents?
Employers should make certain the guidelines supplied by the manufacturers are followed. In addition, all employees who drive ATVs should wear helmets and receive training specific to driving the vehicles. ATVs do not handle like motorcycles and cars, and employees need to be trained specifically on driving these vehicles safely.
Can ATVs safely carry passengers and cargo?
ATVs are not meant to carry passengers. Employers should make certain that only the driver is on the ATV. When it comes to cargo, employers and employees need to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as to the amount of cargo the ATV can safely carry.
We don’t usually consider flu much of an on-the-job hazard. We usually consider it the yearly irritant. It may keep us home for a day or two, but most of us quickly develop an immunity or already have one. It’s called seasonal flu, because it tends to show up in fall and winter. But a new alert from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses the threat of another kind of flu. The pandemic.
The latest Georgia worker safety alert warns both employers and workers to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic.
What is a flu pandemic? It’s what happens when a new strain of influenza arrives on the scene. With a new strain, there is no immunity. Scientists must rush to develop a new vaccine. That can take months. Meanwhile, the disease spreads rapidly from one person to another, enveloping the earth.
There is no new strain of flu. There is no new pandemic. Still, the danger of a pandemic is real. And with the pandemic could come enormous death tolls, social chaos, and global economic ruin, under the worst-case scenario.
Even now, the avian influenza – sometimes called bird flu – is a real concern. It starts in wild birds sometimes spreads to domestic flocks such as chickens and turkeys. There have been a few cases where it has spread to humans. So far, it has never moved from person to person. But if it mutates, the virus could do so, creating a pandemic.
The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed 25 million people in 25 weeks. That’s a staggering number compared to modern tragedies such as the AIDS virus, which has killed an equal number, but over the course of 25 years. During the 1918 pandemic, 20% of the population contracted the virus. And worldwide, 2.5% to 5% of the world’s total population died, sometimes within hours of contracting it. A 1957 flu pandemic took 1 million lives before being quickly contained. Both were strains of flu more familiar than the avian flu variety.
A hazardous piece of equipment. No seat belt. An unsafe maneuver. Together, these ingredients resulted in a tragic, preventable forklift accident that took the life of a forklift operator.
The forklift appears deceptively stable because it has four wheels. But it does not operate like a car. In reality it’s one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment used on a regular basis in the workplace.
A Georgia worker safety report shows that the death of a forklift operator was caused by the inherent instability of the machine. It was just one example of the many deaths and injuries every year that are related to the instability of forklifts.
In this case, the driver – who worked for a car dealership – was helping a neighboring business. The operator was moving materials from a tractor-trailer to the bed of a pickup truck. After depositing materials in the pickup, the forklift operator backed up fast and turned the steering wheel sharply. The forklift tipped onto its side. The operator, thrown from the fork truck, was crushed by the overhead cage.
The Georgia OSHA investigation report found that the driver had not received the proper training. The forklift had no seatbelt or restraining device. And the operator had left the forks in the raised position when backing up. Forklifts should never be backed up when the forks are in the “up” position. Turning sharply with the forks raised may tip the machine even with no loads and at slow speeds, say the “Employer’s Guide to Material Handling Safety.” Training could have prevented the tragedy,
Every year, an average of 20,000 workers are seriously hurt and 100 killed in forklift accidents. Forklifts are not as stable as cars, and operators should keep this in mind at all times. Even though it has 4 wheels, a fork truck does not have 4 points of stability, as cars do. The rear axle is a pivot point, a design tactic meant to make forklifts highly maneuverable. But that also means forklifts have only 3 points of stability. The result is a generally unstable vehicle.
Your region can “get WIRED.”
WIRED is the name of a job and economic development grant program now in its third round of competition. Started in February of 2006, the grants, of up to $5 million each per region, target those places in each state and territory that have historically been economically stagnant or suffering from high jobless rates.
A Georgia unemployment grant would be very helpful to the state’s unemployed workers. An Indiana unemployment grant from the second round of competition was recently awarded. It will benefit workers, especially those in the northern part of the state, who have traditionally been forced to watch improving national employment trends pass them by.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced the third round recently. The WIRED Initiative, according to Secretary Chao, recognizes that local economies “often do not neatly conform to geographic boundaries.” WIRED brings different organizations together to help prepare workforces by supplying them, she said, with “the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century worldwide economy.” Organizations brought into the mix may be foundations, economic development groups, businesses, community colleges, and universities.
The full name of the program is the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Initiative. It was established by the Labor Department in February of 2006, starting when it selected 13 regions nationwide to receive the grants designed to jump-start stalled economies. The competition is stiff but the financial benefits are worth the effort. Notification of the fourth round began with letters from Labor Secretary Chao to every governor. Because the grants are regional, each governor is allowed to apply for two grants, each worth $5 million. The regions involved must show other sources of funding they receive. Those sources may be private, state, or regional.
Nationwide, the employment rate is around 4%, considered good by economists, who usually rank anything below 5% as a job shortage. The average jobless rate for positions requiring high skill levels or a college degree is even lower nationwide, around 1.9%.
You may be shocked by the information on Georgia Worker Safety. Studies show that over 503,530 employees have bore sprains, strains or tears. In 2005, an amazing 270,890 workers suffered back injuries while working. The total amount of people that fell at work is 255,750.
Workplace safety is crucially important to both employers and employees. Having an injured employee is definitely the last thing any employer needs. On top of the employee’s pain, the employer will have to deal with lawsuits, lost wages, and those money-consuming medical bills. No employee looks forward to getting hurt at their job. However, injuries in the workplace are highly common. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) scrutinizes millions of injuries each year in not only Georgia, but all across the nation.
The OSHA administers workplace safety in Georgia. We consider slips, trips and falls absolutely irritating, but not necessarily life threatening. The second most common type of workplace casualty is the slip, trip or fall. In 2005, 732 people died after falling at work. Only driving accidents created more deaths, with 1,258 work-related casualties.
According to a recent report, there were 4,214,200 work related accidents nationwide in 2005. Those accidents were responsible for 1,234,700 missed workdays. To make matters worse, 5,702 workers lost their lives in fatal accidents during the year. Though these numbers are ridiculously high, they include only accidents for employees in the private sector. Remember, these don’t include accidents that involved paramedics, police, firefighters, or other government or non-profit employees.
Any dependable workplace safety program has its roots in education. It’s imperative that workers are reminded of the importance of safety and instructed on proper safety techniques. The OSHA Workplace Safety Pack is the perfect tool for any safety program. It contains clear information for employees on preventing a myriad of painful injuries.