Some California employees and employers may have misread a regulation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that deals with fall protection. Many people believe that an anchor point must be able to support 5,000 pounds per person or it is useless. However, this is not exactly what the regulation states.
Strong enforcement of regulations for workplace safety is one of the most effective things the government can do to protect employees in California and across the United States, according to the former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protection, he said programs that focus on voluntary employer compliance and participation produce only limited benefits for workers' safety in comparison to enforcement.
In California, and around the country, statistics show that male workers are more prone to injuries than female. However, a new study suggests a strong link between women's work injury rates and the presence of mental health conditions like fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression, a link that does not generally exist among men.
California employees who are required to work in enclosed spaces need safe air to breathe. In many cases, they will have access to a gas monitoring device to ensure they know exactly what the atmosphere is like in that location. Often, those monitors will have pumps attached to them. The pumps take air out of an enclosed space and transport it back to a remote location for analysis.
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health has voted unanimously to approve new safety measures for hotel housekeepers. The new section is meant to keep workers safe from physical injuries and other dangers commonly found in the hospitality industry.
California fans of "The Walking Dead" may be interested to hear that the television show's production company was fined over $12,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for unsafe working conditions that OSHA ruled were the cause of a stuntman's death in July. The maximum fine allowable by law was imposed by the workplace safety regulatory agency after it issued a "serious citation" for allegedly failing to adequately protect the stuntman from falling hazards.
In 2016, there were eight deaths in the U.S. coal mining industry, which was a record low. In 2017, however, the number rose to 15 deaths, with eight in West Virginia, two in Kentucky, and one each in Montana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Alabama, and Wyoming. None were recorded in California. Eight of the deaths were connected to hauling vehicles, and two to machinery. Gas and dust explosions, which are frequent occurrences, did not contribute to the numbers in 2017.
Figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reveal that workplace accidents claimed the lives of 5,190 workers in California and around the country in 2016. That number represents an alarming 7-percent increase over the 2015 death toll and is the most workers killed since 5,214 lost their lives in 2008. Workplace safety advocates say that the rise in occupational fatalities indicates that more government oversight is needed because many of the deaths occurred in lightly regulated industries.
In November, the North American branch of Sodexo, the food service and facility management corporation, participated in the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference in Atlanta. There, company representatives discussed the ways in which they could create a strong safety culture and further their corporate initiative called Ambition 2025. This could be of interest to business owners in California, especially those in the food industry.
California residents and others who work in meat or poultry plants may be hesitant to tell OSHA about problems that they face on the job. This is mostly because those workers are afraid of losing their jobs or other forms of employer retaliation. That was one of the main takeaways from a study done by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and was released on Dec. 8.