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Petroleum workers could face loosened safety regulations

Georgia workers in the petroleum industry could be at even greater risk for workplace injuries and accidents, especially as an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard has been classified as excessively vague. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission slashed fines and citations against one BP refinery for violations of federal safety rules. The refinery was accused of violating Process Safety Management rules for the handling of highly hazardous chemicals, with 65 individual citation items enclosed in one larger citation for the overall practice at the workplace.

However, on appeal, all but five of the citations were dismissed. The company was initially fined $2,870,000 for workplace safety violations, but that sum was reduced to $35,000, an almost nominal amount. While OSHA appealed the decision, the commission upheld the appeal judge's decision. In 2007, OSHA began systematically inspecting refineries on the basis of the Process Safety Management rules as part of a national emphasis program.

Making floor safety part of routine fall hazard inspections

OSHA and EPA regulations require business owners in Georgia to conduct routine inspections, including ones meant to reduce fall hazards. Since slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere, many workplace areas periodically inspected for other reasons are also the same places where fall hazards could exist. For this reason, business owners may be able to save some time by incorporating floor safety procedures into existing walk-throughs and inspections. Doing so could also eliminate the need to do redundant inspections.

With production areas, for example, OSHA has workplace safety requirements in place requiring workplaces to be orderly and well-maintained. In addition, EPA stormwater regulations specifically require facilities to quickly clean up spills and regularly sweep and vacuum to prevent pollution. Workplaces may need to remove necessary clutter, frequently sweep or mop and organize equipment to satisfy both OSHA and EPA requirements.

Workers' compensation and burn injuries in Gerogia

Burn injuries can be among the most serious that workers can suffer in Georgia. If you have received a severe burn injury while you were working at your job, you have the right to recover benefits from workers' compensation.

In order to secure the benefits to which you should be entitled, you might have to fight aggressively. It can be difficult for you to fight for your rights while you are also dealing with the painful recovery from your burn injuries. Some burns may cause lasting nerve damage and permanent scarring, permanently altering the quality of your life. Unfortunately, some workers who are burned while they are working are killed.

Does turmeric relieve pain?

If you are dealing with persistent pain due to a workplace injury, you may be looking for new ways to relieve it. Perhaps aspirin and ice packs are not cutting it anymore. One nutritional supplement you may be considering is turmeric. Turmeric is a spice that many people use to treat joint pain, arthritis and headaches.

You may hear from friends, family or the internet that turmeric is a natural remedy for pain. But is this true? Here are the facts about turmeric and pain relief.

Strategies for reducing common types of workplace injuries

Every employer in Georgia has an interest in preventing accidents that injure employees. Organizations can take proactive steps to reduce injuries by targeting common sources of on-the-job injuries.

Safety managers should assess their work areas for slip-and-fall hazards. Slips and falls comprise the leading category of reported worker injuries. Employers need to identify and address uneven walking surfaces, wet areas and unprotected holes or ledges. Warning signs should be posted at dangerous spots and guard rails installed to keep people from falling to lower levels. These actions could prevent serious injuries like broken bones, back injuries, head trauma or strains. According to researchers, slips and falls result in 17 percent of all occupational injuries that disable people.

How fatigue impacts workers

According to the National Safety Council, 69 percent of workers are fatigued while on the job. However, workers in Georgia and throughout the country have different views compared to their employers as to how fatigue impacts them. While 90 percent of employers that took part in a national survey believed fatigue was a problem, only 72 percent of employees thought that his was the case.

Fatigue is most likely to be a problem for shift workers in industries such as construction or transportation. The data suggests that those who oversee workers in such industries should do a better job of understanding the signs and symptoms of fatigue. This can help them to intervene if workers are unwilling to take themselves off of a task. In addition to potentially being a safety hazards, those who are tired could be more likely to experience health problems.

Most common injuries coal miners experience

The coal mining profession stands as a cornerstone of the nation. However, it is a dangerous industry where many workers suffer catastrophic injuries every year. Although the total number of deaths related to coal mining reached a record low in 2016, it suddenly surged back up in 2017. While employers have made progress, there is still much work to do to prevent any deaths whatsoever in the industry. 

Any coal miners who sustained injuries over the course of the job should seek out a workers' comp claim to recover damages. However, prevention is always the most preferable course of action, which is why employees and employers alike need to remain cognizant of the most common types of injuries that occur in this field. 

OSHA's National Emphasis Program for trenching updated

Construction workers in Georgia should know that more and more people are dying in trenching and excavation procedures. Between 2011 and 2016, OSHA reported 130 such fatalities with 49 percent of them occurring between 2015 and 2016. In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has updated the National Emphasis Program regarding trenching and excavation.

The revised NEP was released on October 1, 2018, and for 90 days after that date, OSHA's area and regional offices will be reaching out to employers who need assistance complying with the safety regulations. Compliance and Safety and Health Officers will then conduct inspections of all open trenches and excavations regardless of whether they violate safety standards. They may also inspect operations based on any incidents, referrals or complaints.

Complying with OSHA's lockout-tagout rules

There are many employers in Georgia and across the U.S. who do not properly understand OSHA's lockout-tagout rule for industrial equipment. The rule focuses on servicing and maintenance as well as any production activity where protective guards and other safety devices must be bypassed. It especially complements OSHA's machine guarding rule with the latter protecting employees during normal operations.

The LOTO rule is responsible for protecting the 3 million workers in the U.S. who regularly service industrial equipment. They include craft workers, electricians, machine operators and laborers. Without the controlling of what's called "hazardous energy," these workers are at risk for electrocution, caught-in-between incidents and struck-by incidents, which can result in amputations, lacerations and burns.

Record keeping can improve workplace safety

Many injuries suffered by workers in Georgia could be preventable with more attention paid to avoiding these serious incidents. One reason why the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses the term "incidents" rather than "accidents" for workplace illnesses and injuries is because these events are rarely truly unforeseeable and unpreventable. While some incidents may be caused by external factors outside the job over which the employer has little influence, the vast majority of injuries could be predicted and prevented with extra care.

By paying attention to the accidents that happen and taking steps to prevent future ones from occurring, employers can help encourage better workplace safety at a factory, office or another work site. In order to learn which types of incidents present the greatest risk, keeping good records is critical.

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