New Jersey workers in the meat industry can face some of the most dangerous working conditions in America. Every week, those in meatpacking plants face head trauma, fractures, burns and even amputations as a result of workplace injuries and accidents. In fact, workers in the industry are three times more likely to have a severe workplace injury than the average worker. For workers in pork and beef plants, the risk of repetitive stress injuries increases by sevenfold.
On-the-job accidents and injuries can be a real danger to many New Jersey workers, whether they construct buildings, drive for a delivery service or write in an office. No matter the surrounding environment in which someone works, there are a range of potential slip, trip and fall hazards. While many people may think of this type of injury as common and minor, it's important to note that 660 workers died in 2014 after falling from heights. Nearly 140 workers died on the job that same year from same-level falls.
Sanitation workers in New Jersey and the rest of the nation can incur various types of injuries while they are collecting trash and afterward. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2016, workers who collect recyclable and refuse materials ranked fifth in the list of civilian occupations that have the highest deadly work injury rate. The fatality rate for these workers is almost 10 times more than that for individuals who work in other industries. According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, there were seven sanitation worker fatalities in the first 10 days of 2018.
From slip, trip and fall hazards to exposure to harmful chemicals, there are a variety of safety risks that workplaces in New Jersey are vulnerable to. Safety-minded employers and managers can consider what one insurtech startup in Iowa has developed as a way to reduce these risks and prevent accidents.
Safety is something that employers in New Jersey can be tempted to put aside in the midst of a fast-paced work environment. Even many workers do so in their effort to meet deadlines, while those who are concerned may be prevented from speaking out for fear of punishment. The results are uniformly negative: higher injury rates, a decline in productivity, mounting medical costs and a decrease in employee retention and employee morale. Employers end up tarnishing the name of their company.
New Jersey workers who work around grain storage facilities are at risk for grain engulfment, or being buried in grain. While commercial grain operations must comply with federal safety rules, private farms are not required to obey rules set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Experts say that awareness and training are the keys to safety for workers, which is why the week of April 9 to 13 was designated Stand-Up for Grain Engulfment Awareness Week 2018.
On March 29, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that the death of an ex-boxer that occurred on a New Jersey construction site could have been prevented. The 60-year-old man died after he was struck by a piece of metal at AP Construction Inc.'s Camden Tower project site in 2017.
For many New Jersey construction workers, trench and excavation labor can pose a particular danger of workplace accidents or injuries. While the construction industry overall poses a significant risk of on-the-job injuries due to the use of heavy physical labor and machinery in uncompleted structures, collapses, cave-ins and falls can make the underground cuts and caverns in trenches and excavations particularly risk-prone. Trenches and excavations can be a major part of piping, roadwork, foundation building and other important efforts, so improving workplace safety is particularly critical.
Working in high locations can be a dangerous for employees in New Jersey. In the construction industry, many workers rely on fall prevention systems to protect their lives in case of a workplace accident. These systems require strong anchor points. Because of the inherent dangers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has propagated a series of regulations designed to protect workers operating in high locations while using equipment to protect them from falls.
Workers in New Jersey, especially in the construction industry, are at risk of silica exposure. Inhaling this dangerous carcinogen can lead to the development of severe occupational diseases like silicosis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued rules along with a fact sheet that seeks to encourage employers to come into compliance with its standards for exposure to respirable crystalline silica. OSHA has mandated that employers take actions to protect employees from the dangers of silica exposure, including providing training, establishing plans in case of exposure and assessing the workplace dangers of exposure.