With the winter months forcing more workers in Georgia inside or into partially enclosed spaces, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reminded employers about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Portable generators, space heaters and any equipment that relies on fuel combustion, like vehicles, pumps or welders, produce carbon monoxide. Insufficient ventilation allows the potentially deadly gas to build up and slowly poison occupants. Every year, some workers die from exposure to the odorless gas, and winter increases the possibility of mishandling equipment in poorly ventilated areas.
There may be a variety of issues Georgia employers and employees disagree on, but when it comes to creating and maintaining a safe work environment, everybody is on board. The employer cannot afford the loss of productivity not merely from the injured worker but also from the potential shutdown of the operation until safety is assured. Of course, to the worker, health and safety are paramount, as is a regular paycheck. These interests are so closely aligned that workers compensation was designed as a no-fault system to address a worker injured within the scope of employment without resorting to litigation.
Georgia workers, especially those in construction, know how important eye protection is. PreventBlindness.org states that more than 2,000 people incur on-the-job eye injuries every day with 1 in 10 of these injuries resulting in missed workdays. Between 10 and 20 percent of all work-related injuries end in temporary or permanent vision loss. The following are just some tips for workers wondering if they are protecting their eyes like they should.
Georgia residents may remember that in late December 2018, a lion fatally attacked a 22-year-old intern cleaning one of the enclosures of an animal sanctuary in North Carolina. The state's OSHA office and the federal Department of Agriculture are preparing reports on this incident, which has elsewhere renewed the focus on zoo worker safety.
Workers in Georgia and throughout the country who don't feel safe on the job may refuse to carry out a given task. Furthermore, those who encounter unsafe work conditions have the right to report them to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers are free from dangers that could cause them to become injured or acquire an illness.
The holiday shopping season brings additional business to the retail and warehouse sectors in Georgia. Employers tend to hire temporary workers to manage heavy seasonal workloads, and a news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration emphasized that these interim employees have the same rights to a safe workplace as permanent workers.
Georgia employers that have their employees working outdoors in wintry conditions should take a few extra steps to ensure safety. OSHA gives tips for keeping workers safe at its Winter Weather resource site. For starters, employers must know their legal duty to protect employees from recognized hazards. In the winter, these include the cold, ice, snow and wind.
If a company in Georgia hires a temporary worker, it has an obligation to treat that person just like a full-time employee. Furthermore, the temporary agency has an obligation to ensure that the worker is being placed in a safe working environment. Both parties could experience negative repercussions if a temporary worker is hurt or otherwise placed in harm's way. This is because both sides have responsibility over that worker.
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.
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.