Last year, a lot of people in the Toms River area returned to the workplace after spending a year or longer working remotely. Of course, many jobs cannot be done from home. A lot of people kept going to work whether there was a lockdown in place or not. And no matter where you did your work in 2021, you might have gotten injured or seriously ill on the job.
That is reflected in the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s (NJDOL) list of the top ten public employee workplace safety hazards for 2021. Though the list focuses on government employees, most of the items on the list would easily apply to private-sector workers too.
- Lack of evacuation plan, blocked exit routes, or lack of clear exit signage in case of an emergency
- Unreasonable risk of electric shock or electrocution, such as overloaded circuits or power cords, electrical exposure in wet conditions, and ungrounded electrical connections or equipment
- Uncontrolled energy, such as not disengaging or locking out power before a worker starts servicing a piece of heavy machinery
- Lack of machine guards
- Holes in the floor, no railings on staircases or elevated platforms, slippery floors and other trip and fall hazards
- Materials that are stacked or stored unsafely
- Lack of communication and training regarding hazardous substances and how to handle them
- Poor fire prevention efforts, such as not storing flammable materials properly
- Confined space issues, like a buildup of toxic gas
- For firefighters, compliance problems with the state statute covering equipment, training, safety protocols etc.
While the last item on the list is specific to firefighters, the rest can apply to virtually any manufacturing or construction job. Despite safety measures, Toms River workers regularly suffer serious harm because of the problems on this list. Then they are unable to work for a long period while they recover.