Construction workers in California can face a range of hazards every day on the job that put their lives, health and well-being at risk. In 2016 alone, almost 1,000 workers were killed in fatal construction accidents at their worksites. Only 6 percent of the population works in the construction industry, but over 20 percent of workers in the private sector who lost their lives at work was part of the industry. However, according to research, over 60 percent of those deaths were preventable. There are several workplace safety issues that contribute to the dangers that construction workers face on a daily basis.
Employers in California should know that even when the winter is mild, it takes more than a simple reminder about wearing gloves and hats to keep outdoor workers safe. Before winter even arrives, workers should be prepared and have the right mindset. Employees differ from each other in stamina, nutritional needs and physical needs, and these must be taken into account.
Anyone in California who works around machinery likely knows what pinch points or nip points are: the spaces in machinery where a worker is liable to get caught. Pinch points are found in power presses, conveyors, powered doors and hatches, plastic-molding machines and metal-forming machines. They are in any machine that has gears, rollers, belt drives or pulleys. OSHA has engineering and work practice controls to protect workers against them.
As part of its Temporary Worker Initiative, OSHA has released bulletins on the various respiratory and noise hazards that temp workers face. The bulletins state that staffing agencies and host employers share the responsibility of protecting temp workers from these hazards. Employers in California will want to know what these bulletins say regarding their responsibilities.
Highway workers at California face a number of risks on the job that are highlighted each year during Safe+Sound Week, a project of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In the year 2016 alone, 69 highway workers were killed and 10,700 injured out of a total of 319,300 employed in the industry. The week draws attention to ways in which management, workers and others on the job, including government, can reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.
Employers in California and throughout the country had until July 1 to electronically submit OSHA Form 300 and OSHA Form 301. However, OSHA has announced that the deadline will not be enforced in 2018, and it also announced that the filing date for 2019 would be March 2. After submitting the forms, they are published on OSHA's website with sensitive employee information redacted to protect worker privacy.
A coalition of 130 worker safety groups is petitioning the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a federal standard to protect workers from extreme heat. California, Minnesota and Washington have already implemented such standards.
Safety issues are common concerns wherever heavy equipment is operated. Employees are prone to running into co-workers while navigating warehouse settings and using resources like rack intersections. That's why warehouse companies in California have to be particularly vigilant in reducing blind spots and taking 'close calls" seriously.
Carpal tunnel syndrome often leads to a lessening of grip strength because it causes the muscles in the hand to shrink. The syndrome itself is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which travels through a space in the wrist named the carpal tunnel. This tunnel runs along the whole length of the arm and into the hand. Repetitive movements like typing on a keyboard or other wrist motions can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers in California whose jobs require repetitive wrist motions should take steps to avoid developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
For the past several years, OSHA has been striving to raise awareness about the safety risks associated with hot working conditions. While the organization has no formal regulations on heat stress, the state of California regulates heat stress for outdoor workers. There are challenges, however, such as the need for constant updating as more research is conducted on how heat affects the body.