Connecticut residents may have read media accounts about the harsh conditions at many e-commerce fulfillment centers. In many cases, warehouse workers are put under extreme pressure to gather items that have been ordered and ship them out quickly. Media reports have alarmed workplace safety advocates because many warehouse workers have been killed or injured in job-related accidents. However, there are steps that fulfillment center and warehouse employers can take to mitigate these risks.
Construction sites can be dangerous places for far too many Connecticut workers. The combination of exposed building sites, heavy machinery and, at times, poor safety practices can lead to severe and ongoing workplace injuries caused by on-the-job accidents. In addition, there has been an upward trend in serious incidents at construction jobs; between 2011 to 2015, fatalities rose by 26 percent at these work sites. Some types of accidents rose particularly quickly -- for example, injuries for workers caught in or between objects shot up by 33 percent during that time.
Companies based in Connecticut need to take the safety of their employees seriously. Failure to do so could result in workers spending weeks in the hospital and incurring medical bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. In addition to the medical bills, employers could face OSHA fines and other costs that can significantly impact its ability to remain in business.
Workers in Connecticut who have to work in or around trenches and excavations may be interested to know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will make the reduction of excavation and trenching accidents a priority in 2018. The agency plans to promote awareness regarding the hazards trenching poses to construction workers, reduce the number of trench collapses and inform workers and employers on how cave-ins can be safely prevented.
Although Connecticut workers are likely aware that eye protection is supposed to be worn in certain workplaces, tens of thousands of eye injuries still occur annually. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are more than 20,000 workplace eye injuries each year, many of which result in at least one missed day of work.
Both employers and employees in Connecticut should know about a new study that suggests a link between mental health factors and an increase in women's work injury rates. Though the authors of the study admit that further research will be necessary to determine why this link exists in the first place, the results are noteworthy nonetheless.
Connecticut workers may be disturbed to learn that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration lost 4 percent of its federal inspection force during President Trump's first year in office. OSHA inspectors visit workplaces across the country to issue citations for safety violations. They also note hazardous conditions that may lead to on-the-job accidents.
Connecticut residents may be interested to know that the number of people killed in workplace accidents across the United States went up 7 percent in 2016 over 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the rate of workplace fatalities increased from 3.4 to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.
Connecticut workers who sit in front of computers all day may suffer from digital eyestrain or computer vision syndrome. These conditions encompass a number of vision-related problems that can be caused by prolonged exposure to digital screens, including computers, smartphones and tablets.
Connecticut workers who regularly repair water pipes as part of their jobs should be aware of the results of a study conducted by researchers at Purdue University. The researchers contend that the cured-in-place pipe repair method emits dangerous substances in the air and should be reassessed for the dangers that it may present to workers, the general public and the environment.