The meat plant industry in Oklahoma can be a dangerous place for workers. In fact, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that serious injuries, including amputations, head trauma and fractured fingers, commonly occur on a weekly basis. This is on top of the fact that meat workers are three times more likely than the average U.S. worker to suffer serious injuries.
Workers in Oklahoma can face particular dangers in the summer months, especially the potential for heat stress on the job. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a formal regulation in place to cover heat stress, but for several years, it has conducted an awareness campaign that attempts to draw attention to the dangers presented by an overly hot working environment. In particular, OSHA has encouraged employers to take action to prevent heat stress on the job. Even in California, where state law regulates the heat level to which outdoor workers can be exposed, heat regulations are one of the most frequently violated rules.
Workers in Oklahoma usually have a lot on their minds as they go about their daily duties. People tend to overlook safety hazards in familiar surroundings, but the National Safety Council urges workers to recognize fall hazards and take steps to prevent the serious injuries and deaths that could result. In 2014, falls on the same level claimed 138 lives, and falls from height killed 660 people according to the council's report on workplace injuries. Vigilance plays an important role in safety, and every worker should speak up when a safety problem develops.
Injuries and even death are common in workplaces throughout the world. According to research by the International Labor Organization, more than 500 workers are victims of injury on the job every minute. Workplace injuries seriously affect the health and well-being of employees as well as the bottom line of many companies. The Internet of Things, or IoT, may be one of the ways to improve safety for workers in all types of jobs.
Silica dust can be hazardous to people in Oklahoma or anywhere else who breathe it in. Some of the health hazards include scarred lung tissue, silicosis and the possibility of dying from prolonged exposure. While a new OSHA rule limited the amount of silica to which a worker could be exposed by 80 percent, the construction industry is still figuring out ways to comply with the mandate.
Many Oklahoma employees work in noisy environments. Unfortunately, sustained exposure to loud workplace noise can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Laboratories around the country employ more than 550,000 people according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and these workers face a wide variety of airborne hazards ranging from toxic fumes to deadly pathogens. Exposure to these dangers can cause a variety of debilitating health problems and may even be life-threatening, but the perils of this type of work can be greatly reduced by sophisticated air monitoring and ventilation systems.
People who work in or near grain storage areas in Oklahoma are at risk of being suffocated. A campaign sponsored in part by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is intended to help grain storage workers avoid suffocation accidents.
Excavating, particularly trench digging, presents significant risks to workers in Oklahoma. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has charted a significant rise in trench collapse fatalities. In 2011, trench collapses killed two workers every month, and 2016 saw fatalities double compared to the previous five years. The agency intends to make excavation safety a priority in 2018 and encourages excavating companies to participate in the safety stand down planned for this summer by the National Utility Contractors Association.
Oklahoma residents who work in the entertainment industry can expect continued support from OSHA. The workplace safety agency has renewed agreements with both the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). While USITT is a professional group, IATSE is a labor union.