October 2011 Archives

October 26, 2011

New Guidance to Help Prevent Nail Gun-Related Work Accidents in Atlanta and Elsewhere

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have teamed up to create a new guidance to further help prevent work accidents in Atlanta and elsewhere. The new guidance, "Nail Gun Safety - A Guide for Construction Contractors," can be used by employers in the construction industry to help prevent work-related injuries caused by nail guns.
"Nail gun injuries are responsible for approximately 37,000 emergency room visits annually. In some cases, workers have died from their injuries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers hope that this new guidance will help employers make some much needed changes to help to ensure the safety of all employees. Nail gun-related injuries are preventable. Employers are asked to take all of the proper safety precautions to keep workers safe on the job. Accidents can happen when we let our guard down. It's important for employers to stay one step ahead of the game and to remove all potential hazards before they're able to harm workers.

Many construction workers, especially those working within residential construction, use nail guns daily. These tools are vital on many work sites. While they're extremely easy to use and speed up productivity on every site, we have seen numerous reports of both internal and external bodily injuries from these devices.

Common causes of nail gun-related injuries:

-Unintended nail discharge.

-Ricocheting nails that bounce off hard surfaces.

-Missing work pieces altogether and being shot into the air.

-Disabling a nail gun's safety feature.

A recent study concluded that roughly two out of five residential carpenter apprentices have experienced at least one nail gun-related injury in the last four years. Many times, when these types of accidents happen, they are not reported or given the proper medical treatment.

Research has concluded that the risk of an injury from a multi-shot contact trigger is twice as high as when a worker is using a single-shot sequential trigger nailer.

All supervisors, builders, subcontractors and construction contractors are urged to review the new guidance to help reduce the risks of these types of accidents.

Consider these six practical steps that can help all contractors to avoid a nail gun-related accident:

-Be sure to use full sequential trigger nail guns.

-Make sure all workers are provided with the proper training.

-Make sure that all work sites and work crews understand nail gun procedures.

-Make sure all workers have personal protective equipment (PPE).

-Set up a system to ensure injuries, accidents and close calls are reported.

-Be sure that all injuries are treated with first aid care or medical treatment.

Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted in 1970, employers have been held responsible for making sure that all work sites are healthful and safe for employees. Some of the most routine and simple activities can turn deadly if simple safety steps are not taken.

Continue reading "New Guidance to Help Prevent Nail Gun-Related Work Accidents in Atlanta and Elsewhere" »

October 21, 2011

New OSHA Materials to Help Prevent Fatal Trenching Accidents in Atlanta and Elsewhere

There are three new guidance products that have been released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to help educate employers and employees about the dangers that trenching workers face. Some of the deadliest work accidents in Georgia and elsewhere that are experienced by the construction industry happen in unprotected trenches. There were more than 200 fatal work accidents from trench cave-ins since 2003. Hundreds more workers were injured in these accidents during the same time. OSHA concludes that many of these accidents could have been prevented. Carelessness on the job leads to injured workers.
"No worker's life should end in a trench. Cave-ins during excavations are some of the most common and grisliest causes of worker fatalities in construction, yet they are entirely preventable," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Our Atlanta workers compensation attorneys understand that there are large amounts of trenching violations that continue to occur within this industry. Workers are urged to report any violations to project managers and to OSHA to help ensure work site safety. An attorney can play a key role in fighting for your rights if you or a loved one has been injured in one of these accidents.

The new educational material that OSHA has provided will be used to help educate employers about the vital precautionary steps that must be taken throughout these types of projects. Employers are urged to review this information and to share it with supervisors and employees to help reduce a risk for a trenching accident. Many trenching accidents are preventable when proper safety precautions are taken.

The three new guidance products:

-"Trenching and Excavation:" This fact sheet provides an overview of a number of dangers that a trenching worker can face. It also provides workers and employers with safety precautions to help prevent accidents.

-"Working Safely in Trenches:" This QuickCard is a simple guide to work against safety hazards.

-"Do Not Enter an Unprotected Trench!:" This is a poster that can be used in workplaces to help educate employees about preventative safety measures to use to make sure everyone is safe near and in a trench.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 270 workers who died from a trenching or an excavation cave-in from 2000 through 2006.

Although the dangers associated with trenching and excavation are typically preventable, we continue to see far too many injuries and fatalities in this field or work. These accidents can be prevented by safe work practices, protective equipment and engineering controls.

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October 17, 2011

OSHA Cites Companies for Failing to Prevent Work Accidents in Georgia

Work accidents in Georgia are preventable when employers take the proper safety precautions to eliminate potential hazards. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a number of Georgia companies were recently cited and fined after violations of safety standards were discovered.
Our Atlanta workers compensation attorneys understand that nearly 5,000 people were killed in work-related accidents in the U.S. in 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were nearly 4,000 employees injured on the job in Georgia in 2009. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if employers did a better job of making their work sites safer for employees.

Georgia masonry contractor

A Doraville-based masonry contractor received several citations and fines of more than $164,000 for safety violations at several work sites in Conyers and Sugar Hill. Of these violations, four were received for repeat issues. These included failing to provide platforms and guardrails to prevent workers from falling; lack of toe boards; lack of ladders; lack of face and eye protection; and exposing workers to dangerous mixer blades.

They were also issued numerous violations for failing to enact a hazard communications program, for not keeping copies of safety information sheets and for failing to discuss hazardous chemicals with workers. Lastly, they were given an other-than-serious citation for neglecting to make sure that all industrial truck operators were trained and certified.

Candler Concrete Products

This concrete producer in Gainesville was handed nearly 20 health and safety violations that totaled more than $120,000 for failing to protect employees from a work-related accident. One willful safety violation was issued because the company made employees perform maintenance on vehicles and equipment within three feet of an open and unguarded pit. OSHA felt that these conditions made their risks of a fall accident extremely high. They were also handed six repeat violations for neglecting to properly mark the signs at the facility's fire exit doors; neglecting to remove equipment that was blocking exit routes; failing to provide proper tagout/lockout training to workers who perform maintenance on equipment and machinery; failing to block off an unused opening in an electrical panel; and for not properly protecting workers from various electrical shock hazards.

Ganaway Contracting Co. Inc.

The company's Tifton construction site was cited 14 times and fined more than $55,000 because the company failed to protect workers from various fall hazards; failed to use ladders that extended more than 36 inches past the upper landing surface of a roof; used an extension ladder that was cracked and had missing and broken parts; and failed to require employees to wear eye protection when needed. These were all repeat violations. It was also handed a number of serious violations for exposing workers to fall hazards; letting forklift workers go without a lanyard and a body belt; and didn't require employees to use head protection in hazardous areas.

Employers are required to take all of the proper safety precautions to help prevent work-related accidents that could injure or kill anyone on a work site. If a company fails to take any of these precautions, it will be cited by OSHA and the company will be required to pay the consequences.

Continue reading "OSHA Cites Companies for Failing to Prevent Work Accidents in Georgia" »

October 11, 2011

Workers' Compensation and Surveillance

If you have ever had a workers' compensation claim, it is possible that you have been followed by a private investigator. Surveillance is a tool that insurance companies routinely use to check on the activities of the injured worker. Many times they are just curious and do what is called an activities check. However, there are sometimes that the insurance company is just hoping they catch the injured worker engaging in behavior and activities the worker claims that he or she cannot do.

The basic premise behind surveillance is that injured people who claim they cannot work should not be out doing things that are contradictory to the doctor's orders. One of the main reasons surveillance is performed is to attack the credibility of the injured worker by proving he or she can do more than what they say they can do. Do not assume that the private investigator cannot watch you while you are outside in your yard, shopping or visiting the doctor. If you are outside of your home, you can be watched and recorded at any time. Be aware that the private investigator may in fact contact your neighbors to determine what they see and know about you.

The best way to avoid surveillance issues from complicating your case is to do exactly what your doctor says to do. If the doctor says do not lift anything more than 5 pounds, then do not lift more than 5 pounds. It is very simple. If you are not permitted to do yard work, then you should not be doing yard work. The last thing you want is the judge who is hearing your case to see a video of you doing something that you have previously said you cannot do. Remember, at all times, someone may be watching.

October 7, 2011

OSHA Asks Stakeholders For Ideas to Help Reduce Hearing-Related Work Accidents in Georgia, Nation

In the beginning of the year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it was not going to make any changes to the Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise. They were at one time going to interpret the regulations to help to clarify what exactly "feasible administrative or engineering controls" meant. These changes and this clarification were going to help reduce the risks of hearing-related accidents and other work accidents in Atlanta and elsewhere.
"Hearing loss caused by excessive noise levels remains a serious occupational health problem in this country," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Our Georgia workers compensation attorneys understand that OSHA decided to withdraw from its commitment to update these provisions because it required more resources and more public outreach than they had originally anticipated. They stated that the administration was going to have to do a little bit more research on work-related noise hazards and prevention strategies before it was able to make any changes to the provision.

Now, OSHA released a statement saying it was going to hold an informal OSHA stakeholder meeting to encourage suggestions and comments about work-related, hearing-loss prevention tactics. OSHA is asking stakeholders to share their thoughts and ideas for potential hearing conservation programs, which could include engineering controls and advances in personal protective equipment. The stakeholder meeting will be held Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C.

It is estimated that nearly 25,000 workers lose their hearing because of work-related incidents every year. To help to prevent these types of accidents, OSHA is asking for input from public health professionals, noise control experts, workers and employers.

Meeting Information:

Location: Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-4437 A/B/C/D
Address: 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Contact: You can Register online. Or call (781) 674-7374 or send a fax to (781) 674-7200.
Fax Cover Letter: "Attention: OSHA Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss Stakeholder Meeting." Be sure to include the stakeholder's name, contact information and the affiliated company or organization.

All participants must complete the registration information before Oct. 27.

OSHA pulled the interpretation's proposal back in January, but said it would continue to:

-Thoroughly review all of the comments and concerns that are submitted in response to the Federal Register notice.

-Hold the stakeholders meeting.

-Work closely with experts from the National Academy of Engineering and the National Institute for Occupational Safety for more research on the topic.

-Continue to research and enforce current regulations in an effort to make sure that the guidance and information regarding controls for dangerous noise levels are effective and inexpensive for employers and employees.

Hearing-related work accidents are very serious and can change a workers life forever. If you've experienced an accident on the job, it is critical for you to contact an experienced attorney to help you to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Continue reading "OSHA Asks Stakeholders For Ideas to Help Reduce Hearing-Related Work Accidents in Georgia, Nation" »