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Employee safety: Incentives may not always be the answer

When it comes to the workplace, there is nothing more important than employee safety. As an employee, you know that you have a right to compensation if you're hurt on the job, but it's always better to be safe than to have to worry about filing a claim.

To keep workplaces safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created programs, regulations and requirements that businesses should follow. OSHA has a primary objective of keeping workplaces safe, so it is a supporter of businesses that have strong safety profiles.

3 ways vessel cooks suffer injuries

When most people think of offshore accidents, they probably imagine fishermen and longshoremen sustaining injuries. However, it is important to remember that vessel cooks can suffer an injury at sea. Vessel cooks perform important tasks on tugboats, yachts and cruise ships. 

Maritime injuries often overlook food service workers on boats and ships. Vessel cooks often face similar injuries to those in regular restaurants and may be able to get compensation via the Jones Act. Read on to learn about potential injuries facing vessel food service employees. 

4-vehicle crash results in life-threatening injuries for 1

Imagine being an emergency worker. You attend the scenes of hundreds, if not thousands, of serious accidents and emergencies. When you're there, you expect other people to be aware of your presence and to be safe. If they aren't, they could put your life at risk when you're doing your best to help someone else.

This case is a good example of why drivers should move over and slow down when an ambulance is in the area. Fortunately, no one passed away from this incident, but it could have been much worse.

Three main factors dominate large truck accidents

Getting into an accident with another car is dangerous enough, but if your car is struck by a large truck, there's almost no way that you're going to walk away unscathed.

Truck drivers, by the nature of their job, should be among the safest in the nation. They have to undergo extra training just to get their commercial driver's license and they have to adhere to stricter standards than regular drivers. However, large truck accidents continue to plague the nation's highways in numbers that don't seem to be reasonable.

How can you prevent scaffolding falls?

Construction work can be dangerous, and it often exposes you to hazards you may not otherwise see in the workplace. One inherent danger in construction is working on scaffolding. You might need to use it to reach the roof of a structure or while you're painting the outside of a new build. In any case, the misuse of scaffolding can result in serious injuries or death.

If you work on scaffolding, it's important to use a personal fall arrest system. This system attaches from you to an anchorage point. For example, someone working on a scaffold may have a fall arrest system that attaches to the roof of a building. That set up makes sure the individual won't fall even if the scaffold folds under his or her body.

What are some injuries tugboat workers face?

When you think of boating injuries, the first thing in your mind is likely drowning. Maybe you think of capsizing boats or injuries from the motor. There are dozens of ways to get hurt on boats and ships.

One kind of boat that could end up causing workers injuries is a tugboat. Tugboats are still in existence, even though many people have thought them long gone. These boats are used on rivers and along the East Coast in particular. The tugboat is a kind of workhorse. It keeps the maritime industry running with its ability to move through narrow canals and tow barges that can't move on their own.

Offshore work remains an exceptionally dangerous profession

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied the mortality rates of employees working in the offshore gas and oil industry from 2003 through 2010. The results were a grim reminder that even with all of the new developments in safety technology that human error and natural elements are still lethal.

Offshore workers face a mortality rate that's fully seven times that of other occupations in the United States combined. But the CDC's compiled information reveals more than just that particular grim reminder of the dangers of the job -- it also has helped identify exactly what parts of the job are the most deadly.

Harvey and the impact on workers' compensation

Hurricane Harvey has obviously wreaked havoc in many parts of Texas, in particular Houston. If you live in the area, hopefully, you are safe. However, you may be wondering what impact the storm and its aftermath will have on your workers' compensation claim or benefits (assuming your employer has workers' compensation).

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, a few things are on hold. Overall, though, the news is positive. Most of what is delayed are deadlines that you might otherwise have missed while trying to get through Harvey.

Who's the most likely to get hurt on the job?

The longer you work at a job, the better you get at it, or so you would think. Interestingly enough, the truth is that older individuals are actually dying on the job at a higher rate than other workers, according to an analysis of federal statistics. That's slightly worrying, considering that the traditional retirement age of 65 is no longer the standard among the baby boomer generation. In fact, the government has reported that it believes around 25 percent of the workers in the labor market will be older individuals by the year 2024.

Part of the problem with working longer is the wear and tear it causes the body. When you get older, your body can't handle the same stressors it could when you were younger. Even if you suffer the same kind of injury as a younger worker, it may take you longer to heal and recover. In some cases, an injury that would have been severe for a young worker becomes fatal for older workers.

Does your company embrace the safety culture?

A lot of workplace accidents are avoidable if there's an emphasis in that workplace on safety.

A company with a true focus on the culture of safety is clearly more concerned with the well-being of its employees than a company that merely pays safety lip service to it. How can you tell if the company you work for passes muster or just passes the buck to its employees when it comes to safety issues?

  1. Management should take the lead and make certain that no employee starts a new position without the appropriate safety training and personal protective equipment necessary to do that job.

  2. Safety policies should be clearly explained to all employees and posted throughout the building.

  3. Periodic refresher training needs to be given to employees and spot checks need to be performed to see that safety measures are being followed.

  4. Personal protective equipment is not "one size fits all." There are varying-sized gloves, earplugs, safety glasses and harnesses to fit employees of different sizes. If the right size isn't available, the issue isn't shrugged off. Workers get assigned elsewhere until the right personal protective equipment is supplied.

  5. There should be regular inspections of the equipment that employees are using. A poorly-maintained piece of machinery can end up maiming an employee for life. Outdated equipment that doesn't have the latest safety improvements should be replaced.

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