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BLS releases sobering workplace fatality figures

Workplace fatalities in Georgia and around the country increased by a worrying 7 percent in 2016 according to the latest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of workers killed in on-the-job accidents has now risen for three consecutive years, and the total death toll in 2016 was the highest in almost a decade according to the federal watchdog.

The BLS report reveals that pilots and workers in the logging and fishing industries have America's most dangerous jobs and transportation accidents are the most common cause of worker deaths. The figures indicate that there are an average of 3.6 worker deaths for every 100,000 full time employees in the economy as a whole, but that number rises to 135.9 fatal accidents per 100,000 employees among logging workers. Truck drivers, farmers and roofers are also far more likely to be killed while at work.

New data reveals serious safety risks in U.S. meat plants

According to data, meat plant workers in the U.S. are three times as likely to suffer serious injuries as workers in other industries. In addition, beef and pork workers are seven times as likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries. Meat plant workers and employers in Georgia should be concerned about these trends, especially when there are plans to remove line speed regulations in the industry.

Among the most frequent injuries that meat plant workers incur are fractured fingers; amputated fingers, toes, hands and arms; head trauma; and second-degree burns. OSHA records reveal that in meat plants across America, at least 17 accidents occur every month that qualify as "severe". Severe accidents are any that involve amputations, hospitalization and/or the loss of an eye.

Tips to get employees to use PPE

It can be difficult to get Georgia employees to use their personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job. This is often true even when the clothing fits well and is relatively stylish. However, employers may be able to get their workers to wear protective clothing by explaining what it is and how to wear it properly. In some cases, employees may not even think to use PPE because of a lack of training.

As part of the training process, employers should include stories about times when PPE prevented a serious injury or death. Workers should learn that injuries can happen when other people make mistakes even if they are following safety protocols. Ideally, training courses will be supplemented with regular conversations about why safety matters on the job. These conversations can take place sporadically throughout the day or prior to starting a job.

Tips for using yoga to help with back pain

Yoga can be a great way to alleviate the back pain you have suffered from an injury on the job. For many people, it is a gentle way to strengthen their back muscles and become more mobile.

However, there are ways to do it right. Do it wrong and you risk making your back injury worse.

Heat can put workers' lives at risk

Workers in Georgia may find that heat stress can have significant effects on their safety and well-being. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have formal federal regulations regarding heat stress on the job, it engages in an ongoing awareness campaign, especially in the summer, to help reduce the number of workplace injuries and illnesses attributed to the effects of heat. Overly hot working conditions can be extremely detrimental to workers' health, and it remains a major problem. Even in California that regulates outdoor heat stress, these rules are some of those most often violated.

Science is continuing to evolve on how heat affects the human body. However, there are a number of known dangers of excessive heat that can have a significant impact on workplace safety. For example, studies indicate that heat can have an effect on toxic exposure to chemicals. Chemicals may be more readily absorbed by the body in hot conditions, putting workers at risk in certain types of weather.

Avoiding falls and improving workplace safety

Workplace safety is a major concern for all Georgia employees. While safety concerns in industries like construction may be more obvious, workplace injuries in offices and cars can also lead to significant damages, lost wages and rising medical bills. For example, slips, trips and falls cause many on-the-job injuries. In 2014, 660 workers lost their lives after falling from heights while another 138 workers died from same-level falls.

It can be difficult to spot all of the hazards to workplace safety, especially in an environment that people go through on a daily basis. However, keeping vigilant about risks for slip-and-fall accidents can help prevent injuries and even save lives. There are several ways that workers can make these types of workplace injuries less likely. For example, employees should refrain from texting or emailing on a mobile phone while walking. In addition, cleaning spills or clearing obstructions immediately can help to prevent a problem from becoming a bigger hazard.

Sanitation workers have dangerous jobs

Many sanitation workers in Georgia face ongoing threats to their health and safety on a daily basis on the job. In fact, working in sanitation, on a garbage truck or a recycling collection vehicle can be one of the country's most dangerous jobs. Injuries and accidents are common, and these can often be fatal; 2018 dawned with the death of seven sanitation workers in the first 10 days of the year due to workplace accidents.

In addition, garbage and recyclables collectors had the fifth-highest rate of fatal workplace injuries among civilian jobs in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that sanitation workers have a risk of death on the job that is 10 times higher than people in other industries are. Even when accidents are not fatal, they can cause severe injuries. Damage like sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries are a common experience on the job due to the hauling of heavy bags and boxes while jumping on and off trucks quickly. In addition, people can often discard chemicals and hazardous materials mixed in with other garbage, leaving workers vulnerable to toxic exposure.

CDC notes rise in insect-borne illness among outdoor workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report that should be of interest to residents of Georgia who make a living by working outdoors. The CDC observes that the number of cases in the U.S. that involve insect-borne diseases (diseases caused by mosquito, tick or flea bites) has tripled from 2004 to 2016.

Over that 12-year period, there were more than 640,000 cases of domestic disease, which include dengue fever, Zika fever, Lyme disease and plague. The rise may partly be due to commerce that increases the movement of insects across the country and across continents.

3 things to do after an on-the-job injury in Georgia

If you work in a high-risk industry such as construction or in a mill or factory, the chances that you may suffer an injury on the job are above average. If you do sustain an injury on the job, you should prepare so you know the next steps to take.

These simple tips can help you understand the basics in terms of your rights and responsibilities following an on-the-job injury. Although it can be a painful and confusing time, the good news is that there are laws that protect your rights and you can get help.

Construction workers and silica safety

One of the workplace hazards construction workers in Georgia may experience is exposure to silica. In an effort to protect the workers from the dangers of breathable silica, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is enforcing its rule on breathable silica dust.

Individuals who inhale silica dust are at risk of developing scarred lung tissue and, in some cases, lung disease silicosis, a condition that can make it very difficult to breath; there are many cases in which lung disease silicosis can even be fatal. The OSHA rule regarding breathable silica, which was released in March 2016, reduced the permissible exposure level to the substance to 80 percent.

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