Winter can bring high winds, snow and freezing rain to New Jersey. Many workplaces have to deal with the results by clearing snow and ice from parking lots, sidewalks and roofs. Before employers send workers out to tackle the wintry mess, they have a duty to ensure that staff members understand safety procedures and have appropriate personal protective gear and well-maintained machinery.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding retail employers throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country to be proactive about keeping workers safe during the holidays. The reason for the reminder is because of the flood of customers that can create added stress for both permanent and seasonal employees who routinely stock, pack, deliver and sell various products. This is also the time of year when workers tend to put in extra time on the clock to accommodate extended store hours and increased customer traffic.
The following are just five tips that construction site owners and managers in New Jersey can consider when preparing for winter. This way, they can prevent employees from being injured on the job. The first step is to inspect the premises for any potholes or uneven surfaces. Any fluids in work equipment should be replaced if they are not rated for the area's low temperatures.
OSHA instituted a National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation safety that went into effect on Oct. 1. Employers in New Jersey, especially those in the private construction industry, should be aware of the changes that will come with the NEP.
For construction workers in New Jersey, excavations can be particularly dangerous. Workplace injuries and even fatalities linked to excavations and trench-digging have been rising throughout the nation. In response to the concerns about dangerous workplace environments, OSHA has refreshed its National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavation. The 2018 update replaces an earlier instruction written over 30 years earlier in 1985.
Many workers in New Jersey face a high occupational risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Centers for Disease Control has released a report identifying jobs associated with the highest risk of developing CTS.
The Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General released an audit report in September stating that OSHA has not been doing enough to keep track of serious and fatal workplace injuries. This is despite the fact that the safety organization had made changes to its injury and illness recordkeeping rule, which went into effect in January 2015. Employees and employers in New Jersey will want to know more about the report and how OSHA has responded.
Those who are on a construction site in New Jersey or anywhere else may face a variety of hazards on the job. For instance, they could be put in danger in the event of a trench collapse. To mitigate this hazard, a qualified person can inspect it while employers mark any utilities that may be encountered in the trench. Furthermore, trenches should be supported to help keep employees safe while working in them.
New Jersey residents who work around machinery may already know what pinch points are. These refer to any point in machinery where workers can get caught, and they can include the space between two moving parts, between a moving and a stationary part, or between a part and some material. Any machinery with gears, rollers, belt drives or pulleys will have pinch points.
Tree care workers in New Jersey may be interested to learn of recommendations made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding their safety. Tree care operations are considered one of the most dangerous operations in the United States. Based on information from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, while workers who perform landscape services form less than 1 percent of the nation's workforce, they make up 3.5 percent of the total number of workplace fatalities. They also constitute 75 percent of the fatalities associated with tree trimming or removal.