Many people in New Jersey labor as temporary workers who are sent to third-party host employers by staffing agencies. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration assigns responsibility for workplace safety to both staffing agencies and host employers. Both parties have a duty to inform workers of hazards, train them appropriately and keep records. The two parties are guided by the concept that each entity should focus on the hazards of which it has control and can correct.
New Jersey workers in construction know that their jobs can be dangerous. Since construction workers often operate in incomplete structures and use heavy machinery, the consequences of a workplace accident or injury can be severe. Trenching and excavation projects can pose particular risks, especially those associated with possible cave-ins or collapse. Across the country, there has been an increase in deadly accidents connected to these types of projects. Between 2011 and 2016, 130 workers died on the job while engaged in trenching or excavation work.
Construction employees in New Jersey who work frequently may be aware that OSHA has a National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation. On Oct. 1, a revised NEP went into effect and initiated a 90-day outreach period for employers across the U.S. who need help complying with OSHA's safety standards. The updates come as a response to the increase in deaths and injuries among trenching and excavation workers.
Employers in New Jersey may know that in 2014, OSHA revised its rules on reporting cases of work-related deaths and serious injuries. Despite the fact that these rules have been in effect since January 2015, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General has released an audit report showing that there are inadequacies in OSHA's current data as well as a lack of assurance that employers have abated the hazards connected to the incident.
In New Jersey, as in other states, construction workers run a high risk of getting into accidents. Though they comprise 6 percent of the population, construction workers make up 20 percent of all private sector employee deaths. The following are the top five safety hazards that they encounter on construction sites and how they can mitigate them.
Some people in New Jersey may have heard about reports of unsafe working conditions at some Amazon warehouses. A number of workers report being injured on the job and left without income. Some even became homeless due to lost work and/or high treatment costs.
New Jersey staffing agencies and host employers should be aware of two recent bulletins released by OSHA concerning the protection of temporary workers against noise exposure and respiratory hazards. These bulletins, which are part of the organization's Temporary Worker Initiative, provide various scenarios exploring what can happen if workers are not properly trained or protected.
Workers in New Jersey may be interested to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is canceling a rule that would have required employers with at least 250 workers to submit illness and injury information from Forms 300 and 301 electronically. According to the Department of Labor, the reversal of the rule will alleviate the burdens the employers experience when trying to comply with the requirements and will keep information that is personally identifiable private.
There are probably many people in New Jersey who work in conditions where they can be exposed to asbestos. Several international organizations have estimated that 105,000 to 110,000 deaths are caused every year by this toxic mineral. However, a recent study from the International Commission of Occupational Health shows that the actual number may be twice as high.
Meat workers in New Jersey and across the nation face serious on-the-job risks every day. For example, amputations, fractures, head trauma and second-degree burns are common weekly occurrences in the industry. Even so, the government is considering speeding up pig processing lines, which could make some jobs more hazardous.