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.
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.
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.
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.
Employers in Georgia have a duty to provide safe environments for their employees. The most common types of workplace accidents include slips and trips, vehicle-related accidents, being caught in machinery, fire accidents and overexertion or injuries due to repetitive stress. Trips, slips and falls make up one-third of workplace injuries; they are among the most common causes of workers' compensation claims.
More than 1,000 workers died on construction sites during 2016 according to research by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Construction deaths make up 20 percent of all occupational fatalities in the United States even though only 6 percent of the private workforce is employed in that particular sector. Falls, the biggest cause of construction site fatalities, account for more than 30 percent of these incidents.