Many Utica residents will recall the days when just about every teenager worked a fast-food job for a summer or two, or maybe picked up shifts throughout the school year as a way to save up some extra cash. Today, it's common for adults at just about any stage in life -- especially given the economy in recent years -- to work "flipping burgers" at a fast-food joint.
We continue our discussion of health care worker safety this week with some eye-opening statistics regarding hospital employees from OSHA. This is not intended as specific legal advice, but rather as general information to help provide some context for workers who've been injured or are concerned about the risk of injury in a hospital workplace.
Last week's post here on our Syracuse Workers' Compensation Law Blog discussed a story in which hospital laundry workers were put at risk of exposure to serious illnesses. OSHA took action against the hospital in response. But this story afforded us a brief glimpse of what is, in fact, a profession in which many employee illnesses and injuries occur beneath the radar: that is the health care industry.
Businesses have important decisions to make about operating efficiently and protecting the bottom line. But when those decisions put their workers' health and safety at risk, OSHA will draw the line. Our Utica readers need look no further for evidence of this than a recent story from New York-Presbyterian hospital.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a federal agency dedicated to the safety of workers and the enforcement of safety regulations. The organization has a presence in all 50 states and covers most private sector employers and workers. OSHA's main goal is to provide a safe workplace for workers. As part of its job it conducts inspections and investigates accidents. New York private employers are monitored directly by the federal OSHA.
When most New Yorkers think of dangerous professions, they may think of logging, mining or construction. While these industries frequently experience high numbers of work-related accidents, workplace safety has drastically decreased in the health care field. Workplace violence has risen significantly, leaving nurses, attendants and social service workers fearing for their lives. Fortunately, there are ways in which employers can identify risk factors and provide safer alternatives for their employees.
When many New Yorkers think of workplace accidents and workers' compensation cases, they may immediately think of back injuries, machinery accidents and chemical-related injuries. However, exposure to loud noises is a common, but not much-talked-about, concern. Occupational hearing loss has actually been a major concern for more than two decades. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than 20,000 work-related accident claims annually. If you are concerned about loud noise in the workplace, here are some worker safety guidelines to consider.
With thousands of Americans involved in workplace accidents annually, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will soon become stricter with its reporting requirements. Beginning January 1, employers in New York and across the country will be forced to file accident reports within specific timelines, particularly if employees were seriously injured or killed on the job.
Workplace safety is often overlooked. However, many New Yorkers work in factories, on construction sites and in other unsafe areas. The truth is that a work-related accident can happen to any employee at any time. The main mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Act is to keep work sites accident free, and with help from employees and employers alike, this goal can be accomplished.
When a New Yorker starts a new job -- or takes on a new duty at a job he's held for many years -- he may feel pressured to perform the duty to the employer's standards. This may mean performing dangerous duties without proper gear or training, therefore increasing the risk of injury. However, workers should know that they have rights in the workplace and these rights include employer compliance with standards put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.