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.
Women in New Jersey and nationwide may have an increased chance of suffering a workplace injury due to mental health issues. A recent study, which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health and Pinnacol Assurance, a workers compensation insurer.
The number of workers killed while on the job in New Jersey and around the country increased by a worrying 7 percent in 2016, according to figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The federal agency reports that workplace accidents claimed 5,190 lives in 2016, which is the highest occupational death toll since 5,214 workers were killed in 2008. Many of these deaths occurred in growing and lightly regulated sectors like food service and health care. Accidents and injuries remained steady or actually fell in industries that are closely scrutinized by federal safety agencies like OSHA.
More and more people in their 60s and 70s are putting off retirement, leading to a multigenerational work environment in many areas. Companies in New Jersey, especially those in construction and other fields involving physical labor, now face the challenge of providing safety training that speaks to people of all age ranges.