Workplace Hazards: Dangers That Can Very Well Be Averted

Workplace Hazards: Dangers That Can Very Well Be Averted

Sep 16

The West Virginia coal mine explosion in April 2010, which claimed the lives of 29 people, oil rig south that blew up south of Louisiana, and the fire at a Washington State oil refinery, have all renewed the strict campaign of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in ensuring a workplace that is medically safe and compliant with US government’s safety standard.

OSHA, a branch of the federal government that enforces health and safety laws, was enacted to eradicate the threats and hazards of chemical exposure and unsafe work environments which caused millions of injuries and illnesses in the US each year. Prior to OSHA, workplace hazards (some of which were due to chemical exposure) accounted for about 300,000 job-related illnesses, 2.5 million job-related disabilities and 14,000 deaths. Its creation, however, mandated employers to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all employees by determining exposure limits to toxic materials (like asbestos, lead and vinyl chloride), providing employees with personal protective equipment, evaluating the presence and effects of hazardous chemicals in their workplace and, if necessary, eliminating these.

Furthermore, in 1983, OSHA published the Hazard Communication Standard, the program that became famous under the heading, “Right to Know” laws, and which specifically required importers and manufacturers of chemicals to assess the dangers associated with the chemicals they manufacture and distribute and make sure that such information is included in the product’s container labels. The program also mandated all employers to train their employees whose job required exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Construction sites workers are the ones most prone to work-related accidents and that hundreds of thousands of workers are either severely injured or killed each year due to construction site accidents. There is another job, however, where workers may not be endangered by enormous equipment and dangerous tools, but are definitely prone to job-related illnesses and disabilities due to direct, and sometimes prolonged, exposure to toxic/dangerous chemicals – professional cleaning.

The cleaning industry is a very dynamic sector as it represents one of the largest services required by both public and private enterprises. Many risks and hazards threaten professional cleaners, though, including: exposure to hazardous substances, like biological agents which can cause asthma, allergies, and blood-borne infections; slips, trips, and falls, especially when working in a wet, slippery environment; and, electrical hazards from equipment used during work.

There are many other forms of workplace dangers employees may be exposed to, but most of these can be averted, if not completely prevented, with due diligence and strict compliance with OSHA stipulations, as well as through job hazard analysis and risk mapping. Greenfield, WI attorneys could help people who have been injured in workplace accidents through the difficult process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits after an injury. If worst comes to worst, a lawyer could also figure out whether or not a lawsuit is necessary.

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