Oklahoma employers who own construction businesses face new federal requirements designed to safeguard their workers. The new rule, which takes effect on Aug. 3, 2015, requires construction companies to have a plan in place when their employees will be working in confined spaces.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers in Oklahoma and around the country to provide safe working conditions for their employees as well as keeping track of injuries and reporting them. To the extent that is possible, employers must ensure that the workplaces are free of hazards, and when hazards are unavoidable, organizations must take steps to ensure that employees are able to work safely.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has indicated that in the decade from 2000 through 2009, there were 350 workers who died in accidents caused by trenching collapses. The majority of these deaths occurred in trenches that were less than 10 feet deep. Because a cubic yard of dirt may weigh more than 3,000 pounds, a cave-in during an Oklahoma trenching project can have devastating results.
The construction industry largely relies on Latino employees, and Oklahoma residents should be aware of the fact that Hispanic workers are disproportionately affected by accidents in the industry. Although the construction industry is becoming less deadly as a whole, Hispanics are more likely to be killed or injured than non-Hispanics. An accident that occurred on March 23, 2015, could bring this issue to light.
Trench collapses are dangerous, but they are also in some cases preventable. Still, workers are seriously injured or killed every year when trenches in which they are working collapse and cave in on top of them. There are safety mandates governing this type of work that are designed to help prevent such tragedies, but unfortunately, the accidents continue to occur.
When an Oklahoma resident is using a portable ladder at his or workplace, it's important that certain safety guidelines be followed in order to avoid injuries. According to the Occupational and Safety Health Administration, protection must be used by construction workers at least six feet off the ground, and workers in general industry should use protection when at least four feet off the ground.