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The top OSHA violations of 2018

OSHA revealed its top 10 list of violations during a presentation at the 2018 National Safety Council Congress & Expo. Both workers and employers in Missouri and throughout the country will be familiar with many of the violations on the list. Statistics were compiled between October 2017 through the end of September 2018. There were 7,270 violations regarding a duty to provide fall protection, which put it at the top of the list.

Most of these violations involved roofing and single-family home construction companies, and OSHA says that this type of violation has been the most common for several years. Other violations in the top five include lack of training regarding hazard communication as well as inadequate lockout and tagout procedures.

Teen drivers need experience and limits to stay safe on the road

Missouri continues to work toward helping reduce teen fatalities on the state's roadways by ensuring all teen drivers receive enough training with the Graduated Driver License law. When a teen is 15 years of age and can pass the vision, road sign recognition and written tests at a Highway Patrol examination station, they are eligible for an instruction permit. They can drive with licensed drivers who are 25 or older. At 16, a driver may graduate to an intermediate license after having a permit for at least 182 days and passing the written test again if results from the first one are over a year old. They must also pass the Highway Patrol driving test. The last step in the process is to obtain an under-21 full driver's license at age 18 or older.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is a good time to review new research published by the AAA Foundation. Over 1 million car accidents involving teen drivers occurred on the nation's roadways during 2016, and these crashes accounted for over 3,200 fatalities.

NHTSA: 2017 sees 9 percent rise in fatal large truck crashes

Missouri residents often find themselves driving alongside large trucks, and they will want to be especially careful when that happens. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 2017 saw a decrease in every type of fatal traffic crash except large truck crashes.

For example, passenger vehicle, motorcycle and pedestrian crash fatalities saw a 1.4, 3.1 and 1.7 percent decrease, respectively. Speeding-related deaths went down 5.6 percent, and bicyclist deaths dropped by a significant 8.1 percent. The total number of people killed in traffic fatalities declined by 1.8 percent 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017.

Mobile workers may be more prone to distracted driving

The number of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers has risen sharply in recent years, and road safety advocates in Missouri and around the country have blamed this increase largely on the use of smartphones and other internet-connected devices by motorists. Between 2013 and 2017, smartphone ownership in the United States rose from 55 percent to 77 percent while the number of traffic accidents increased by 12.3 percent to 6.4 million.

According to a recent distracted driving study from the workforce management and logistics firm Motus, mobile workers are especially prone to behind-the-wheel distractions. Mobile workers make up an increasingly large part of the American workforce, and they each drive about 1,200 miles annually while distracted according to the Massachusetts-based firm's report. The study also reveals that mobile workers take 49 percent more journeys each year than other American drivers.

3 reasons nurses often get injured by lifting

Working as a nurse is a rewarding and challenging career. Its rewards are obvious: You get to help patients be well and use your unique skill set to improve the health of your community. Its challenges are apparent, too: you must navigate complex situations, work long hours and cater to patients who are sometimes resistant. There are also physical challenges in nursing that are often overlooked.

Little attention is paid to the physical strain that nurses are often subjected to as part of their job. According to Healthcare Finance, this has motivated the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop new standards governing the treatment of nurse injuries. These are three reasons why such injuries are common.

The top hazards that construction workers face

The hazardous nature of the construction industry should be well known to employees and employers alike in Missouri. OSHA has stated that in 2016, there were over 1,000 construction-related deaths; moreover, about 60 percent of those deaths could have been prevented with the right training and equipment. The following are the top five hazards that construction workers face and how they can be mitigated.

Falls account for a third of all construction deaths. Workers can fall off unstable surfaces, fall through holes or injure themselves on unsafe ladders and scaffolding. Employers should first ensure that workers have the right personal protective gear and that the site has guardrails and other necessary fall protection equipment.

Counties look to roundabouts to reduce rural traffic fatalities

Missouri drivers may be safer on roadways that have replaced traffic lights with roundabouts. Experts say that while traffic lights are better at reducing the overall number of accidents, the collisions that do happen are more severe. Accidents at roundabouts are less likely to be fatal and more likely to only result in minor injuries.

This is what led a county in North Carolina to replace an intersection marked by stop signs with a roundabout in June. In 2011, a 21-year-old woman was killed in a car accident at the intersection when another driver ran a stop sign. Although additional signs were put up to warn of the stop ahead, two more accidents happened there that resulted in serious injuries. The roundabout cost $1.2 million, but according to state engineers, it will cut down on accidents by 89 percent and save $2.5 million in crash-related costs. One advantage of roundabouts is that unlike stop signs and traffic lights, they do not require drivers to estimate whether they have time to get through an intersection. Instead, they just have to look left.

How to safely handle chemicals in the workplace

Missouri workers know that handling hazardous chemicals can be very dangerous. However, by following a series of basic rules, they and their employers can prevent workplace accidents and stay safe.

First, workers should never cut corners regarding safety procedures. Instead, they should always follow established safety procedures and perform duties the way they were trained. Second, workers should always remain alert and anticipate things that could go wrong while performing certain tasks. They should always wear appropriate personal protective equipment and regularly inspect this equipment for defects or excessive wear.

Stopping distracted driving

Drivers in Missouri and the rest of the nation are susceptible to being distracted while they are behind the wheel of their vehicle. Certain forms of technology can do this, as well as something as simple as allowing the mind to wander. Because driving while distracted can result in significant losses and costs, it is important that a solution is found.

For over 10 years, fleet companies have been collecting vehicle data to identify the adverse events, such as hard acceleration and braking, that occur in their trucks. Fleet management devices and analytics can be used to combine the adverse events with driver coaching. They can also use the events to turn on certain devices, like video cameras. However, and probably more importantly, the data that is being collected by the fleets can be used to forecast the conditions that are likely to result in collisions or situations in which drivers may be fatigued or distracted.

An overview of the top 10 unsafe jobs in the U.S.

In late 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, but the data found in it should still be of interest to employers and employees in Missouri. It ranks the 10 most hazardous jobs in the U.S., and while some of the inclusions are to be expected, others may be surprising.

The top five positions on the list go to logging workers, fishers and fishing workers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, roofers and trash and recycling collectors. The ranking is based not on the total number of deaths that each industry incurred but on its fatal work injury rate. Ninety-one logging workers died in 2016, but the industry's fatal work injury rate was a startling 135.9 per 100,000 workers (either full-time or the equivalent). The fishing industry had a fatality rate of 86.

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