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Pittsburgh Workers' Compensation And Personal Injury Blog

The odds of being hurt while hunting

When a person goes hunting in Pennsylvania, there is a chance that he or she could be accidentally shot. However, fewer than 1,000 hunters in the United States and Canada are shot in a given year.

Of those who are shot, less than 75 will die from their injuries. Those deaths tend to be due to falls or other unintended actions.

Cranking technique may help truckers avoid shoulder injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were more than 70,000 on-the-job shoulder injuries in 2016. Truck drivers in Pennsylvania may be especially vulnerable to shoulder injury when lowering or raising their trailers, a task known as cranking. A study published by the journal Applied Ergonomics on Oct. 3 examined the technique of 12 male drivers to determine the ideal cranking position for avoiding injury.

The study was conducted by researchers from North Carolina State University and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. Researchers focused on 16 muscles involved in the act of cranking landing gear. They measured muscle activity while cranking as well as the scapular range of motion of all the drivers.

Questions abound about OSHA drones

In certain cases, OHSA is allowed to use drones to assist in investigations that take place in Pennsylvania and other states. However, contractors have many different concerns related to this practice. For instance, there may be many different employers working on a construction site.

OSHA requires that an employer give permission before a drone is released over a job site. However, it is unclear if obtaining the permission of a single employer means that all employers in the area can be monitored. Employers have also questioned how they would be able to object to any videos or photos that the drone takes. So far, OSHA has used drones for nine inspections. A representative from the Associated General Contractors of America said that the group doesn't have an opinion on drone use yet. However, that person did say that the group wants the technology to be implemented with an eye toward accuracy.

A fatigued truck driver is a dangerous truck driver

Just about everyone with a driver's license has gotten behind the wheel after not getting enough sleep. With the fast pace of life in this technological world, sleep may feel like a luxury. You may realize that it's not the safest way to drive, but you figure that you aren't far from your destination, so you can make it.

Sadly, some long haul truck drivers feel the same way. They see nothing wrong with driving while fatigued. It's not like they are drunk, right? Wrong. It actually does resemble drunk driving, and it is dangerous.

Electrocution deaths high among construction contract workers

A majority of the contract workers who die in electrocution accidents are construction workers. This was the conclusion of the National Fire Protection Association after researchers studied U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on electrocution deaths from 2012 to 2016. Contract workers in Pennsylvania, whether self-employed or not, should know that they composed 13 percent of all electrocution deaths in that period.

Of those 13 percent, a startling 68 percent were in the construction and extraction field. Thirty percent of construction contract worker electrocution deaths took place on a construction site. Construction trade workers made up 57 percent of the fatalities, followed by electricians at 31 percent and construction laborers at 11 percent. Roofers and supervisors each made up 5 percent of the total.

Improving outdoor worker safety in winter

Winter weather in Pennsylvania can be more than just a temporary inconvenience for outdoor workers. Other than cooler temps, winter also brings with it a slew of potentially risky conditions. For this reason, employers are urged to recognize common winter weather hazards and provide their workers with properly maintained vehicles and the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes appropriate personal fall protection systems for employees regularly working from heights.

One of the top winter occupation-related hazards that could lead to workers' compensation claims is rooftop snow removal, which is a task that results in multiple injuries and other serious incidents each year. OSHA doesn't have specific rooftop snow removal standards, but the agency does have standards for ladders, aerial lifts and fall prevention devices and systems employers need to be mindful of. There's also a general duty clause in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act that compels employers to recognize hazards unique to weather conditions.

The holidays create incentive for worker safety measures

Pennsylvania employers and others throughout the country must protect workers regardless of the tasks that they perform. This is according to a statement released from OSHA. It is timed to coincide with the holiday season, which is among the busiest shopping times of the year. Employees have the right to a safe workplace whether they are employed by the company throughout the year or are just hired for the holidays.

Employers that don't typically hire part-time or seasonal help can find guidance from the Department of Labor as to how workers should be paid. OSHA has tools that can help companies keep their workers safe at all times. Among the recommendations are to hire extra security and install ropes to manage the number of people inside a store at any given time. Businesses have an obligation to keep all of their people protected whether they work in a store, in a warehouse or in transportation as a driver.

Trucker speeding may be linked to increased fatalities

Truck accidents can be particularly dangerous for others sharing the Pennsylvania roadways. Because of the size and mass of large commercial vehicles, other people in a crash are at a higher risk of severe injuries or even death. In 2017, deaths associated with semi-truck crashes reached the highest point in 29 years according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some of these crashes may be caused by speeding truck drivers aiming to make up time before taking a mandatory rest break after eight hours of driving.

Some truck drivers say that an increasing number are speeding as they reach the end of an eight-hour shift, which could lead to serious trucking crashes. In 2017 alone, 37,133 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. While overall crashes showed a minor downturn, fatalities due to trucking accidents rose by 9 percent to 4,761. Around 1,300 of the dead were truckers; the others were drivers and passengers in other vehicles, amounting to 72 percent of the total.

Be prepared for the perils of bowhunting this season

The well-known Pennsylvania bow manufacturer Fred Bear once said: "Not only is bowhunting fun and a real challenge, but it's good for you. The exercise in the fresh air, the chance to get away from everyday pressures and problems, a return to the basic relationships between man and his environment."

Many bowhunters in Pennsylvania share his opinion, and without taking essential safety precautions, this is an activity that could cause severe or even fatal injuries. It is hunting season, and you will want to return home safely. Whenever deadly weapons form part of hobbies or sports activities, there will be situations in which unanticipated tragedies can strike. Your life could change in the blink of an eye if even one member of the hunting party is negligent.

OSHA warns about 10 most common safety violations

Workers in Pennsylvania may face an array of dangers on the job, especially those who work at heights and face the risk of falls and the resulting severe injuries. At the 2018 National Safety Council Congress, a deputy director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed the regulator's top 10 workplace safety violations for the previous year. The statistics were calculated between October 2017 and September 2018, and the results reflected some persistent safety problems that have continued over the years.

The citation issued most commonly for employers violating federal safety rules was the same as it has been for the previous several years: failure to provide fall protection. Employers have a responsibility to provide workers operating at heights with protective equipment that can help to prevent falls or lessen their effects when an incident occurs. However, 7,270 citations were issued in the past year for employers that failed to provide necessary gear to workers near unprotected edges or working on roofs. Fall protection also came up in eighth place on the list as 1,982 violations were issued for employers that failed to provide proper training. In some cases, workers did not receive necessary training; in other cases, the training was not provided by a qualified person.

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