According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the point of operation of equipment and machines in all industries must be protected against any injury risks. Adequate, and properly installed safeguarding is crucial, and it must be emphasized that workers should never remove or tamper with safety devices like sensors or machine guards. The lack of machine guards can cause catastrophic injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is focusing on an initiative regarding the impact of worker fatigue. The agency urges employers in California to limit fatigue-related workplace injuries by establishing less demanding schedules. Irregular shifts and long, demanding work hours are not uncommon in modern workplaces, causing increased stress levels, poor health and worker fatigue.
Authorities recently reported a West Nile Virus outbreak in Los Angeles County. Along with other possible workplace injuries, it poses a significant risk to workers whose jobs have them working outdoors. Reportedly, WNV is endemic in this area of California, posing high risks during the summer months when the heat brings increased mosquito activity between dusk and dawn.
Tens of thousands of workers across California work outside the traditional 9-to-5 working hours to keep the economy running 24/7. The lack of sufficient sleep makes these workers more vulnerable to workplace injuries. Some of the most catastrophic industrial disasters like the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Three Mile Island Nuclear accident were partly to blame on sleepy workers on extended shifts.
More and more workers in California have to get used to dealing with robotic co-workers and the threats they pose. New risks need new precautions, and employers must provide the necessary safety training to ensure that employees can recognize hazards and know how to mitigate them. Following two robot-related workplace injuries gave rise to new recommendations regarding employee safety when working around demolition robots and laser-guided forklifts.
National Heatstroke Prevention Day was held on July 31. Underscoring the dangers of heat-related workplace injuries at this time makes sense because of the heatwaves that have threatened many outdoor workers so far this summer. The issues highlighted by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health include the fact that a significant percentage of heat-illness incidents involve workers on their first day of work.
Janitors and cleaners often put their safety on the line. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that tens of thousands of workers in the janitorial services industry in California and other states suffer workplace injuries every year. However, safety authorities say most injuries are preventable by taking necessary safety precautions. Although employers are responsible for the health and safety of employees, janitorial staff often work off site, putting the burden of safety on themselves.
Safety authorities have taken steps to protect workers in California from the hazards of wildfire smoke. This emergency regulation comes at the height of the wildfire season, and it will likely become effective in August and stay in place for one year. The rule serves to prevent smoke-related workplace injuries that are common at this time of the year.
California employers might not pay enough attention to hand safety. Workers need their hands for every job they do, and workplace injuries that cause amputations can jeopardize their ability to return to the same position. Even the loss of one finger can be life-changing. However, it is not only the obvious hazards that can cause serious workplace injuries.
A recent incident in a grape vineyard in California led to the need to decontaminate farmworkers and first responders. An investigation was launched by the Tulare County Ag Commissioner's office after workplace injuries were apparently caused by pesticide. Reportedly, workers called 911 at about 11 a.m. on a recent Tuesday after experiencing the effects of contamination.