Winter brings cold temperatures to parts of Missouri, and people in many occupations could experience symptoms of cold stress. Outdoor workers in industries such as construction and agriculture face the cold weather head on, but risks could affect indoor workers as well. People who labor in cold storage areas, wet conditions or in workplaces without heat could succumb to cold stress, which ultimately leads to hypothermia.
Many of the accidents that occur at construction sites in Missouri involve scaffolding. In fact, scaffolding accidents collectively cost U.S. employers $90 million annually in lost work days due to related injuries. Improper scaffolding consistently ranks as one of the top OSHA violations. It's also estimated that more than 2 million construction workers, representing nearly 70 percent of the construction industry, frequently perform work involving scaffolding. This is why OSHA has established scaffolding-related guidelines to help improve worker safety when scaffolding is used.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released statements to remind employers of their duties to protect workers in Missouri and across the U.S. ahead of the holiday season. Employees have the right to a safe workplace whether they are packing boxes, selling merchandise, stocking shelves or delivering products. The holiday season can be especially hectic for retail workers, and retail employers should take steps to make sure workers are safe during sales that draw large crowds.
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.
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.
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.
Workers in Missouri can face a range of workplace safety hazards on the job, even in unexpected places. While workers in industries like construction may be very aware of the threat of workplace accidents, office employees or others with less physical jobs may be unaware of the risks they also face on the job. For example, slip-and-fall accidents can have serious consequences that can even be fatal. In 2014 alone, 660 workers lost their lives after falling from a height. Perhaps more shockingly, 138 workers were killed when they fell at the same level.
Worldwide, more than 1,000 people die every day in workplace accidents, which is why it's so important to assess and prevent as many risks in the workplace as possible. Employers and safety managers in Missouri now have new technology they can depend on for this purpose. Based in Des Moines and specializing in SaaS, MākuSafe is a startup that has developed wearable bands capable of recording environmental and motion data.
Improving worker safety in Missouri starts with one employer at a time. Unfortunately, many employers become distracted by tight deadlines and the fast pace of their work environments, paying little attention to safety guidelines. Not only will this make workers more vulnerable to injuries, but it will also lower their morale as they realize their employers are not concerned. This means low productivity, high turnover rates and weaker employer branding.
Construction workers in Missouri and nationwide face hazardous job conditions each day. However, a new report by the Associated Builders and Contractors, or ABC, says that following the organization's safety program can help construction companies become up to 670 percent safer than companies that don't follow the program.