Do you work the late shift? Alternative shift workers face several hazards. If your work hours occur when most people are asleep and you sleep when most people are awake, you might suffer from the effects Shift Work Disorder, which is characterized by disturbances in sleep patterns, including insomnia, non-restorative sleep, and excessive sleepiness.
People who suffer from SWD (sometimes called Shift Work Sleep Disorder) might feel fatigued at work, especially if they are working extended work hours, which is common in shift work. Other symptoms include impaired cognitive abilities, anxiousness and irritability, unintentionally falling asleep on the job, reduced job performance, and increased incidence of on-the-job injuries.
Who is at Risk?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of the workforce works shifts other than the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift. These alternative shift …
Last year, vehicle accidents in Texas work zones killed nearly 100 people and injured 800. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, work zone fatalities were 9 percent higher last year than in 2016, which seems to indicate that drivers need to get serious about work zone safety.
Driver error – specifically, speeding and inattention – is usually to blame for work zone crashes. Aggressive driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have also been associated with work zone crashes.
Speeding in Work Zones
When a stretch of road is under construction or undergoing maintenance, that section will have a lower speed limit than the rest of the road. Lower speed limits help protect roadside workers from serious injury. And when a construction project temporarily alters the usual traffic patterns, or creates irregularities in the road surface, …
In January, the National Safety Council announced that in 2016, 161,374 people died from accidental injuries. That was the first year in recorded history that accidental injury was the third leading cause of death.
The NSC analysis of fatality data found accident-related fatalities increased 10 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. In the same time period, vehicle crash deaths increased 6.8 percent. Crashes killed 40,327 people, and unintentional opioid overdoses claimed 37,814 lives.
Fatal accidents are usually preventable. But inattention, judgment errors, and outright negligence continue to cause fatal accidents year after year. In the press release about its analysis, NSC president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “Our complacency results in 442 deaths each day.”
Traffic Crash Fatality Trends
Overall, U.S. motorists are safer now than they were years ago. In 1996, the crash fatality rate was …
Construction in Texas is booming – so much so that some construction companies are turning down big contracts, because they don’t have the laborers needed for the job. One might assume that’s good news for construction workers, because it means there are plenty of job opportunities. But these jobs often pay very little, and workers have a high risk of workplace injuries and fatalities.
Texas leads the nation in construction workplace fatalities – a construction worker dies on the job every three days, and more than 70 Texas construction workers died at work during the first four months of 2017.
This deadly trend isn’t specific to Texas, however. An in-depth study found that in the south, construction workers are exposed to terrible risks and low wages, “that should not exist in the twenty-first century in the richest country in …
A new report assigns Texas a letter-grade of “F” for workplace safety. The National Safety Council’s “The State of Safety” report places Texas at No. 32 in its ranking of all states’ workplace safety.
In assessing workplace safety, the NSC looked at several factors, including:
- The maximum workers’ compensation benefit period for temporary disability
- The maximum workers’ compensation weekly benefit for permanent disability
- The existence of state laws regarding workplace violence
- State mandates for employer-sponsored illness/injury prevention programs.
As the only state that does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance or a private equivalent, Texas ranked low in the availability of injury benefits. It also received low marks for the absence of state laws promoting workplace health and wellness. However, the state is making some gains in addressing the problem of workplace violence.
Violence in the
Before the age of cell phones and computers, most of the United States workforce reported to work at a certain time, and when they clocked out and came home, they put the workday behind them. But today, many people seem to be always “on the clock” – for example, checking email after dinner and before bedtime.
Maintaining that kind of hectic lifestyle may undermine healthy sleep patterns. So, in an effort to accomplish more in a day – to be more productive – workers may be missing out on valuable hours of sleep, which in turn makes them less productive throughout the day.
Most adults of working age need seven to nine hours of sleep per night – and at the very least, six hours. Getting too little sleep, or sleep of poor quality, may not only interfere with job …
The non-profit organization Prevent Blindness has a special advocacy initiative for each month of the year. It proclaims March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month, a time for employers to support healthy vision for workers.
Prevent Blindness says that for employers, there are many advantages of promoting eye health:
- Higher workplace morale
- Higher productivity
- A reduction in financial losses associated with vision-related absences, disability claims, and early retirement
- Manageable vision insurance premiums, due to fewer vision-related illnesses
- Fewer on-the-job accidents.
Promoting occupational vision health means more than just providing safety goggles in an industrial setting. There are numerous ways in which employers can help workers maintain healthy vision.
How Vision Problems Lead to Injury
Often, when people get glasses or contact lenses for the first time in their life, they’re surprised at how much better they can see – they never …
In August, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a 19-page report, detailing its findings of a February inspection at the Tyson chicken processing plant near Center, Texas. OSHA also released results of a July inspection, and, altogether, inspectors found the company guilty of 15 serious and two repeat safety violations, with fines totaling $263,000.
These inspections revealed potentially deadly hazards, like the lack of safety guards on machines. One worker lost a finger in one such machine at the Center plant earlier in 2016 while trying to dislodge a jam.
Tyson safety violations are not isolated – OSHA has been uncovering hazards in chicken processing plants for years, in Texas and elsewhere. But for a company that expects to earn $37 billion this year, $263,000 in OSHA fines may be of little concern. To those seriously injured on …
Workplaces have become generally safer under the oversight of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, but the agency still issues many citations for safety violations, many of which are known to raise the risk of these four most common causes of construction workplace injury:
- Being struck (by an object/vehicle)
- Being caught in or between (such as entrapment in machinery or a trench)
These four mechanisms of injury also cause the most fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for 57.6 percent of job-related construction deaths in 2014.
When OSHA conducts workplace inspections, it classifies violations by severity, labeling as “serious” those violations that raise the probability of causing a serious injury or death and that an employer either knew about or should have known about. Given the number of serious construction workplace violations OSHA issues every year, it’s …