May 2011 Archives

May 25, 2011

OSHA Launches Photography Contest to Increase Awareness of Work Accidents in Georgia and Elsewhere

A new contest, put on by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, aims to raise awareness of workplace safety. The contest, Picture It!, will be searching for the photograph with the most effective use of imagery to display the views of OSHA. This contest kicks off the nationwide efforts to decrease the number of work accidents in Georgia and elsewhere.
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Our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys would like to invite all residents to participate in the year-long celebration to recognize the Administrations 40th year anniversary. Residents 18-years-old and older and able to submit their photos to OSHA through August 12th. Visit the OSHA website for contest rules and regulations.

Submissions are to interpret workplace safety and health in any way the photographer deems necessary and efficient. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded to the winners. Winning entries will be displayed on the OSHA photo contest website. First place will also receive a personal letter of congratulations from Secretary Solis. Lastly, the three winning photos will also be hung in Washington at the OSHA national office. These photos are to serve as a reminder of the real-life impact of OSHA's mission.

Judging the photos will be a number of accomplished photography professionals and public affairs members.

Employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces for their employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. OSHA's aims to ensure that all of these conditions are met for America's workers as they continue to set and enforce safety standards by providing training, education and assistance.

According to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 5,500 workplace fatalities in the United States in 2009.

The Bureau also reports that roughly 90 percent of all fatal work injuries happen to workers in private industry. Service-providing industries in the private sector recorded nearly 50 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2009, while more than 40 percent were in goods-producing industries. Roughly10 percent of the fatal work injury cases in 2009 involved government workers.

Workplace accident litigation is complicated. For this reason, an injured worker needs to seek the help of an experienced workplace injury lawyer to help fight for their rights following a work accident.

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May 18, 2011

National Bike to Work Day in Georgia Aims to Promote Safe, Inexpensive Travel

National Bike to Work Day is held every May across the country and in Canada. This event aims to promote the use of a bicycle as an option for many to commute to work, according to the American Planning Association - Georgia Chapter. Biking is an excellent way to commute to work as it promote physical exercise, a healthy lifestyle and reduces road congestion. On National Bike to Work Day, many safety advocacy groups will scatter throughout the city to hold events and pit stops for those participating in the day's activities.
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While National Bike to Work Day is only one day out of the year, Georgia goes even farther and takes a whole week out of May and designates it as Bike to Work Week in an effort to protest rising gas prices and raise awareness of bicyclists in the area and in an attempt to decrease bicycling accidents in Georgia.

Our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys urge residents to participate in Bike to Work Week as it is not only an excellent way to raise awareness, but also a fun and inexpensive way to get to your job.

During National Bike Week our state will be offering $1,500 in seed grants and signage funds for the "share the road" campaign. Contest rules, regulations and submission information can be found on the Georgia Bikes website. These grant opportunities are available to bike advocates across the state.

While bicycling to work, there are a few Georgia laws that bicyclists should remember:

-All bicyclists must operate with a light during the evening hours. A motorist should be able to see you from 300 feet away. This will give them enough time to acknowledge that someone is there.

-All bikes must have red reflectors on the backside of the bicycle.

-Riders under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet.

-Low rider bikes are not permitted on Georgia streets. Our state does not allow citizens to operate bikes with handle bars raised above the shoulders on the roadways or sidewalks. Bikers can easily lose control when the steeling grip is so high.

-Children younger than 1-years-old can ride in infant sling or bicycle trailer. Of course you can drop your child off to daycare on your way to work.

-No one is allowed to ride on the handlebars of your bike.

-For a complete list of bicycle laws, visit the Governor's Office of Highway Safety website.

A list of bike week events in Atlanta can be found on Yahoo Sports.

The first Bike to Work Day was started by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956. It has since then been incorporated in as a part of Bike to Work Week, and then as a part of National Bike Month.

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May 16, 2011

Summer Months Raise Concern for Heat-related Work Injuries in Georgia

A national outreach initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration aims to educate employees and their employers about the potential hazards of working outside as heat can drastically affect one's health. A number of steps need to be taken to prevent these possible heat-related work injuries in Georgia and elsewhere. The initiative was announced late last month by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
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"If you're working outdoors, you're at risk for heat-related illnesses that can cause serious medical problems and even death," said Secretary Solis. "But heat illness can be prevented. This Labor Department campaign will reach across the country with a very simple message - water, rest and shade."

Our Georgia workers' compensations attorneys understand what outdoor workers face in the Georgia weather, especially during the summer months. It is important that these workers take a number of precautionary steps in an attempt to preserve their health and well-being while working outdoors in the hot summer months.

Every year, thousands of outdoor laborers experience the effects of heat illness as it often manifests as heat exhaustion. If this condition is not quickly addressed, head exhaustion can turn into heat stroke. Heat stroke took the lives of more than 30 workers last year.

"As we move into the summer months, it is very important for workers and employers to take the steps necessary to stay safe in extreme heat," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Drinking water often, taking breaks and limiting time in the heat are simple, effective ways to prevent heat illness."

Jobs including agriculture, construction, landscaping, airport baggage handling, road repair and even car sales can face great danger from working in the heat.

In an effort to educate workers and employers, OSHA has created heat illness educational materials in both English and Spanish. They've even created a curriculum that can be used in the workplace for safety training. In addition, a new OSHA Web page is available and provides information and resources of heat illness issues including what to do in a heat-related emergency and how to prevent it on the job.

To further efforts, OSHA has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create weather alerts that will include worker safety precautions to be issued when heat alerts are in effects across the country.

All workers and employers are asked to be safe during the upcoming summer months as heat related illnesses can cause serious injury, or even death, if not properly recognized and treated.

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May 11, 2011

OSHA Handles a Number of Work Safety Violations in Georgia

A Best Buy Co. Inc. store was cited five times by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an employee suffered a serious work injury in Georgia. The accident happened earlier this year at the store on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth, according to Operational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The employee suffered severe head injuries from a fall at the electronics store.
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The Best Buy employee was reportedly stacking televisions on a storage rack. To reach the rack, he was standing on an elevated powered industrial truck's platform. The platform allegedly tilted suddenly causing the worker to fall roughly 12 feet.

Our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys are aware of the dangers that workers face in a number of workplaces. Workers are encouraged to speak with their employer if they feel unsafe completing a task or have any concerns pertaining to job safety. Laws are in place to prevent employers from retaliating against employees for reporting these types of safety risks.

The Georgia Best Buy store received two repeat violations including failing to provide personal protective equipment to fit the employee and safety guardrails for a 12-foot tall fall hazard.

An employer will receive a repeat violation when they have previous been cited for the same, or similar, violations of standard, rule, regulation, or order at that or any other facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years.

"This injury resulted from managers' complacency, as they failed to oversee powered industrial truck operators to make sure that fall protection was being used," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "The fact that the body belt was too big for the operator shows a lack of concern and a desire to get the job done regardless of danger to the worker."

OSHA came down on another company too, as the government cited CIB Internation Inc., or Canam Signs and Imaging. The sign company received 15 safety and health violations a shop in Georgia following an inspection earlier this year. They're reportedly facing $89,000 in fines, according to OSHA.

The business was cited once with willfully exposing their workers to fire hazards by permitting spray paint to take place near their welding operations.

A willful violation is given when a business knows of and voluntarily disregards the law's requirements, all while showing plain indifference for worker safety and health.

Thirteen more serious violations, totally $33,000 in penalties were also issued to the company. These citations include failing to regularly inspect fire extinguishers, failing to separate the storage of oxygen, acetylene in a production area, allowing flammable material to be stored near an emergency exit, failing to maintain information sheets for chemicals employees used in the production area and failing to develop a hazard communications program. They were also handed a number of citations for electrical violations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 holds employers responsible for providing safe working conditions for all employees.

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