Those who work in closed spaces in Florida and throughout the country could be exposed to harmful chemicals and other hazards caused by the use of heavy machinery. It is not uncommon for dust and toxic smoke to be kicked up by conveyor belts or other tools used to extract materials from a mine. Companies that use equipment that is not up to MSHA standards could also be putting their workers at risk.
Hundreds of construction workers are injured in workplace accidents each year in Florida and around the country, and thousands more develop work-related illnesses after being exposed to dust or toxic materials during renovation, repair or demolition projects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict standards that limit the amount of lead, asbestos and hazardous air pollutants construction workers can be exposed to, but complying with these regulations is not always easy. This is especially true when older buildings are being refurbished or demolished.
The craft beer industry is growing in Florida and across other states, but like any other industry, it has its fair share of employers who do not live up to OSHA safety standards. The following are six of the most common OSHA violations that craft breweries are cited with.
Florida residents may be interested to learn that the number of work-related fatalities in the U.S. went up slightly from 2017 to 2018. According to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that was released on Dec. 17, there was a 2-percent rise overall in work-related deaths last year. There were more dramatic increases in some specific types of fatal workplace accidents.
Chronic and ill-managed workplace stress can cause employees to suffer burnout. The condition can be seen across a wide range of industries, and it has become so widespread in recent years that the World Health Organization has officially called it a diagnosable condition. Florida workers should know that it has not necessarily been called an occupational illness yet.
Warehouse workers must pack and ship the orders placed on Amazon when consumers in Florida shop at the online retail giant. A media investigation of warehouse working conditions has revealed how the company buried information about worker injuries. Up until 2015, three safety managers formerly employed by Amazon said that they were instructed by upper management to find reasons to avoid recording injuries.
Workers' compensation can be critically important for Florida workers who have been injured on the job. These payments cover lost wages and medical treatment when an employee is unable to work due to an accident or injury. Workers' compensation can also cover funeral costs when a worker is killed due to an on-the-job-incident. Most workers' compensation benefits go to cover medical costs, including emergency care, testing, ongoing treatment and health care transportation. In some cases, workers may be directed to go first to a specific list of doctors for non-emergency care.
Employers in Florida and around the country must meet standards laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and obtain permits before asking workers to enter confined and potentially toxic environments, and the penalties for failing to meet these requirements can be severe. An industrial contractor and a petroleum refiner in Alabama were recently reminded of this when OSHA proposed that they be fined more than $100,000 for not securing an area where a worker asphyxiated after losing his air supply.
Florida workers know how there are different forms of employment in the modern economy. In addition to traditional full-time jobs with regular hours and job security, there are gig economy jobs, jobs with short-term contracts and jobs with flexible employer-worker relationships. The employment conditions of each of these, taken altogether, can have a big impact on employee health and job safety.
In September 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided a case involving the right interpretation of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard. Florida employers may be interested to learn that the court ruled in favor of OSHA and against the owner of a marine vessel repair facility in Alaska who argued that it's unnecessary to evaluate respiratory hazards until after it's clear that respirators are needed.