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March 2018 Archives

Trench and excavation accidents high priority at OSHA

Excavating, particularly trench digging, presents significant risks to workers in Oklahoma. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has charted a significant rise in trench collapse fatalities. In 2011, trench collapses killed two workers every month, and 2016 saw fatalities double compared to the previous five years. The agency intends to make excavation safety a priority in 2018 and encourages excavating companies to participate in the safety stand down planned for this summer by the National Utility Contractors Association.

Eye safety: a major concern among workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20,000 eye injuries occur every year in Oklahoma and the rest of the U.S. Among serious injuries, such as those leading to permanent eye damage and blindness, 40 percent arise in the construction, manufacturing, and mining industries. OSHA estimates that eye injuries cost companies a total of $300 million every year in workers' compensation benefits, lost productivity, and medical expenses.

OSHA to extend alliance with USITT and IATSE

Oklahoma residents who work in the entertainment industry can expect continued support from OSHA. The workplace safety agency has renewed agreements with both the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). While USITT is a professional group, IATSE is a labor union.

Why OSHA enforcement may be best for workers

Employers in Oklahoma and elsewhere must generally abide by workplace standards set by OSHA. However, companies with a proven safety track record may have the opportunity to opt to participate in Voluntary Protection Programs. According to the former assistant secretary of OSHA, there has been no rigorous study proving that VPP is effective. In most cases, VPP participants were larger companies that had the resources to create quality safety programs.

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