Here are a few news stories that I felt were interesting from this week.
In the “You Mean OSHA Can Do That” category:
A federal court has banned a company from performing construction and excavation work. After repeated violations that seemed not deter this this company from protecting its employees, the court told the company that it would need to find a new line of work. If it could not protect its employees, then it would not do those types of jobs. This is an interesting case against a smaller employer. I wonder if OSHA would do the same for a larger corporation for repeated violations?
In the “I Have Always Wondered” category:
McDonalds has been hit with multiple OSHA claims of unsafe work practices. I remember as a teenager and young adult hearing the stories of friends slipping, getting burned, getting cut, lift heavy bags and items, while working at their fast food jobs. I always wondered why this was acceptable from a safety standpoint. Evidently, I have my answer. It’s not. Are there really any excuses not protect workers?
In the “This Means You” Category
A garbage truck operator was struck by a passing car. I cannot stress this enough: when there are emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and road crews, slow down, pay attention, and watch for them. They are focused on their job and do their best to watch for cars, but they need help protecting their lives.
In the “I’m Not Sure That’s the Root Cause” category
A petition to OSHA to regulate speeds in the meat and poultry industry was denied. One, we do not have a ergonomics standard which would help in this case. Two, the speed is not the hazard. The hazard is the repetitive motion. Yes, fast repetition is a cause of cumulative trauma injuries, but the focus should not be on the speed as much as the process, tools, automation, rest periods, rotations, etc. There are other ways for workers to be protected. OSHA has never really branched into the work flow and speed legislation.