While it might seem surprising, according to a recent Idaho worker safety alert the number of injuries and fatalities that occur in the workplace as a result of ATV use is on the rise. Though most people think of ATVs in regards to sport use, the vehicles have seen a recent increase in popularity among a number of professions because of their versatility and ability to traverse areas where standard vehicles simply cannot reach.
Unfortunately, because ATVs have such a reputation for recreational use many people assume that this means they are easy to operate or that they shouldn’t be taken seriously. A number of the accidents referred to in the Idaho OSHA alert occurred because the operators simply didn’t give the vehicle the respect that it deserved and lost control of it because they were not anticipating the power that the small vehicle possessed. When OSHA began compiling a listing of workplace accidents, they discovered that the number of accidents which involved ATVs were rising steadily each year. In the past 9 years, there have been over 1600 ATV accidents in the workplace which resulted in the injured employee having to miss one or more days of work.
Even worse, though, were the 113 fatalities that resulted from ATV misuse during that same time period. Many of these deaths resulted from overloaded vehicles which were taken on inclines or other rough terrain where the ATV tipped over with the user still onboard. Some of these fatalities may have been preventable, but the users were not wearing helmets because they didn’t think that the “cute” vehicle could be dangerous.
In order to combat this rise in injuries and fatalities, the Idaho OSHA alert included a set of guidelines which could drastically improve the safety of ATV usage in the workplace. Hopefully, this documentation will help users to operate their ATVs safely and will lead to a sharp decrease in ATV-related accidents.
Alcohol and drug abuse can be very costly to any business. Many employers have pre-employment drug screening and random drug testing. The Idaho Drug Free Workplace Alliance has become an important tool in the fighting of alcohol and drug abuse. Staff members of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state educating employees about drug and alcohol abuse is one of the most effective ways for an employer to protect his or her company. Another way to protect the company is to encourage those with problems to get the assistance they need.
In workplaces that involve possibly hazardous tasks like operating machinery, OSHA is in strong support of comprehensive drug free workforce programs. OSHA understands that impairment by drugs or alcohol is a hazard that can be avoided and that drug free workplace programs help improve worker health and safety and can increase the value of a company.
The Idaho Drug Free Workplace Alliance reflects the nation’s effort and commitment to work with unions and contractor associations on the common goal of protecting worker health and safety. OSHA does not require employers to have drug-free workplace programs, but these programs along with other initiatives can ensure a safer and healthier workplace which contributes to the success and value of American businesses as well as communities.
The employer must see that all programs are reasonable and that they don’t overlook the employees’ right to privacy, especially when drug testing is involved. OSHA also understands that many workers with substance abuse problems can be returned safely to the workplace provided they have access to appropriate treatment and supportive services.
The Department of Labor points out that increased absenteeism, accidents and errors are some of the ways that a company may have to pay for alcohol and drug abuse. Other costs may include high illness rates and low morale among employees. According to OSHA statistics, most fatal job related auto accidents are due to alcohol or drug abuse.
Think the asbestos problem is over? Think again.
Yes, asbestos has been banned from buildings for years now. And yes, most of the asbestos has been removed. But not all of it.
An Idaho OSHA alert warns that asbestos is still a hazard for mechanics, who sometimes find themselves working on old cars and trucks. Those older cars and trucks often have brakes and clutches containing asbestos, even if newer cars don’t. That is a hazard to the mechanic. In fact, if a single employee takes apart a brake shoe in an old car the wrong way, he or she can be exposing every other worker in the shop to risky asbestos levels. There is no way to tell ahead of time if a brake or a clutch contains asbestos. So it’s best if a mechanic handles each one as if it were a hazard.
There are some key techniques for handling asbestos to minimize the problem. One is to wet it, holding down the number of airborne particles to a minimum. Another is to store the asbestos in a labeled and firmly sealed bag.
The Idaho OSHA alert recommends methods for controlling the amount of asbestos in car repair shops. One is the “negative pressure enclosure/HEPA vacuum system.” The other is the “low pressure/wet cleaning method.” The wet method is allowed only for shops doing 5 or fewer brake and/or clutch jobs a week.
OSHA has some asbestos requirements for employers in the specific industries affected by asbestos. First, make sure there are written guidelines for handling the material. Second, train workers in these safe methods for working with asbestos, and then make sure employees follow those methods.
OSHA’s regulations only apply to workers. If you like to work on your own car in your driveway, it would be wise to let professional mechanics tackle any work connected to clutch or brake repair.
Asbestos particles are too small to be seen by the naked eye, but can be deadly. Roughly 10,000 people die every year of asbestos related illnesses in the U.S. alone.
Many employers in the state are part of the Idaho Drug Free Workplace Alliance. This alliance is a key instrument in the battle against drug abuse and alcohol use in workplaces. The companies that support the alliance perform random drug screening and require drug tests as part of the pre-employment process.
Workers and management working in cooperation is one of the highlights of this initiative. Contractor associations and labor unions are working together to protect the safety and physical condition of the workforce. Some recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, for Idaho employers are to implement education programs to employees regarding the dangers of alcohol and drugs, and to persuade employees with problems to seek help.
A program to eliminate the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace must include at least these five areas: employee education, a strategy, drug testing, supervisor training, and employee support. Common sense must be applied in such programs, especially when drug testing is included. The rights to privacy of any employee and any person must be taken into consideration.
In the case of safety-conscious workplaces, OSHA especially supports comprehensive programs for a drug-free environment. Businesses that include the operation of machinery are examples of companies that need to apply this kind of program.
Alcohol and drugs can be serious risks to the health and safety of workers. Applying a drug free program can add value to American companies. According to the Department of Labor, America’s businesses pay enormous costs for alcohol and drug abuse by workers, including increased absences, errors and accidents. Other less visible costs are higher sickness rates and lower employee morale.
Substance abuse, according to OSHA, is involved in most fatal auto accidents in the workplace. OSHA understands that many workers with alcohol and drug problems can return to the workplace with treatment, support and follow-up care.
Most people take safety on the job for granted but many accidents happen at work. Sometimes these accidents are fatal.
A recent study by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that 15% of all fatalities are accidental deaths that occurred while on the job. This number is surpassed only by the number of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Some situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls are wet floors and improper passageways. It is imperative that floors be kept clean and dry at all times. Spills of any sort must be immediately marked and cleaned up. In those workplaces where a wet floor is a necessity, proper drainage and grating systems must be installed and maintained; mats and other raised platforms must be provided for employee use.
Idaho OSHA has recently addressed this issue and revised its workplace safety standards. An updated Slips Trips Falls Poster is now distributed to increase employee awareness of the necessity of good housekeeping practices in the workplace. This poster is best used in conjunction with a strong safety awareness program involving every employee. These revised standards apply to all industries in Idaho except the domestic, mining, and agricultural industries.
All aisles and passageways must be kept clean, dry, and clutter free. These areas must be wide enough for a minimum of two people to pass comfortably. Where moving equipment is used, the passageway must wide enough to safely accommodate these machines and the people who work with them. Permanent passageways need to be clearly marked and exit signs displayed. Many slips, trips, and falls have occurred when confused employees all rush to leave a building at once during emergency situations.
Safe housekeeping practices involve constant vigilance to spills and clutter but there is more to take into consideration. Proper building maintenance is vitally important, too, as loose boards or carpets, protruding nails, and splinters can all be the source of an accident on the job.