In Florida and across the United States, the holiday shopping season puts many pressures on retail workers. At a time when the unemployment rate is at historic low levels, many retail employers respond to the increased business activity by offering workers overtime pay and bonuses in exchange for longer hours and increased productivity, two factors that result in greater stress.
Florida employees in a number of different industries may increasingly find themselves working alongside robots. As the use of robots in the workplace grows, so does the likelihood that humans may be injured as a result of working with them. Robots have actually been in the workplace for longer than many people may realize. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration created its first safety guidelines for working with robotics in 1987.
OHSA says that it will focus more on enforcing regulations related to trenching and excavation. This is according to a recent update to its National Emphasis Program (NEP). Between 2011 and 2016, 130 workers died while doing this type of work. Of those deaths, 80 percent came from workers in the private sector. Almost half of those deaths occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone, according to OSHA. Florida employers and others will receive guidance from OSHA in complying with the standard.
The Office of the Inspector General has released an audit report saying that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is not doing enough to gather information on workplace injuries and fatalities in Pennsylvania and other states. OSHA has also not been consistent in issuing citations to organizations that fail to meet filing requirements. OIG found that there was a lack of training and guidance regarding how to prevent and detect under reporting of employee injuries.
"Handle with care" is a good rule of thumb to follow in any workplace. It is especially important for Florida workers who find themselves handling hazardous materials in the course of their workday.
International health agencies estimate that 105,000 to 110,000 deaths occur every year across the world due to asbestos exposure. However, a recent study from the International Commission of Occupational Health shows that the reality could be even worse. Florida residents should know that exposure to this mineral causes more than just mesothelioma; in fact, it's more likely to cause lung cancer.
For some people in Florida, the idea of a dangerous job may evoke images of law enforcement officers and firefighters. After all, danger is at the very heart of these occupations. In terms of fatal injury rates, however, the most hazardous jobs in the United States are in the logging, fishing and aviation industries.
Anyone who has lived or worked in Florida knows that the Sunshine State can get pretty hot in the summer. A study conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggests fatal heat stroke can occur even when temperatures are still in the 80s. In fact, nearly half of the fatal heat stroke cases investigated occurred when the heat index, which refers to the "feels like" temperature, was under 91 degrees.
Residents of Florida may be surprised to hear that the sanitation industry is one of the most dangerous among civilian occupations. In 2016, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the collection of refuse and recycling materials ranked five among such occupations with the highest fatal injury rates. Workers can suffer sprains, strain, overexertion injuries and even exposure to dangerous materials.
Unfortunately, construction sites can be some of the most common places for workplace injuries and accidents. In addition, Florida construction workers can face danger from some of the materials they are exposed to on the job, including breathable silica. While federal enforcement of a regulation on silica protection went into effect in late 2017, industry compliance continues to be incomplete in spring 2018.