Most of the electric shocks suffered by Pennsylvania residents from time to time are low voltage and do not require medical attention, but electricity can be extremely dangerous. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, one-tenth of an ampere of current running through the body can be deadly after just two seconds, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that accidents involving electricity killed 156 American workers in 2014.
While Pennsylvania residents may be most familiar with the safety challenges nursing homes and hospitals face in providing care to patients, OSHA has recently increased its vigilance over the safety conditions for workers in these institutions. In the past, these industries have received little scrutiny from OSHA, but a June 2015 announcement from one of the organization's leaders has resulted in greater attention to and enforcement for in-patient care facilities.
Pennsylvania workers as well as their employers may be interested in a wireless safety system that can improve safety conditions. A lack of monitoring of safety fixtures such as eye baths and safety showers can make it difficult to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly according to federal safety regulations. Wireless systems have been introduced as a cost-effective way to monitor a variety of safety equipment and reduce maintenance costs while maintaining compliance with regulations.
According to preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 4,679 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2014. If accurate, this would represent a 2 percent increase from 2013. Overall, there were 3.3 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The highest fatality rate belonged to the logging industry, with a rate of 109.5 deaths per 100,000 FTE workers.
Emergency service workers in Pennsylvania frequently spend a majority of their days on call to aid their communities. Since many of these workers may be persevering through shifts between 12 and 24 hours in length, questions have arisen concerning the possibility of exhaustion and its consequences. A recent study strongly supports the idea that these shifts could contribute to fatigue capable of endangering both the workers and the patients depending on them.
Pennsylvania workers may want to know about the Voluntary Protection Program, through which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rewards worksites that have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to workplace safety. Under the VPP, those workplaces do not have regular OSHA inspections and are exempt from them.
Employees in Pennsylvania might benefit from understanding more about hand protection in the gas and oil industry, as described by the Occupational Health and Safety. The fatality rate in this industry is eight times higher than the workplace average for the nation. These workplace injuries have become common at refineries, transportation hubs and drilling sites in the gas and oil sector. This type of work can be especially detrimental to workers' hands.
Pennsylvania motorists may not be aware of the high cost of driving while fatigued, but it is estimated that fatigue is a factor in at least 7,500 deadly accidents annually. Driving while drowsy may be as dangerous as driving drunk, and both causes may lead to more severe accidents. A truck driver's fatigue after being awake for 28 hours is in part believed to be responsible for the 2014 accident in which comedian Tracy Morgan was injured and one man was killed.
A recent publication issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns employers and workers alike that infections could arise from using improperly maintained eyewash facilities. Both employers and workers in Pennsylvania can use the information to remain aware of the risks and learn how to avoid them.
In response to the deaths of three miners on Aug. 3, the Mine Safety and Health Administration is strengthening its enforcement and safety training efforts in Pennsylvania and across the nation. The miners were killed in three separate incidents in Virginia, North Dakota and Nevada.