A trenching death creates a hazard for the rescue crew. A trench fell in and the rescue was slowed because the rescue crews has to shore up the sides before they could begin the extrication. This definitely is a case where the trench was not properly protected before the worker entered. Trenching issues are very common. For some reason, there are still companies that treat trenching and excavation as “just digging a hole.” There is so much more to creating a safe environment for workers when it comes to this standard. There are many considerations that have to be made when performing the work such as rescue and soil content. These injuries are preventable through training, planning, and proper rule adherence.
Dollar Stores are under various OSHA investigation for not creating a safe workplace. According the the article, it seems to be a regular occurrence among Dollar Stores where exits and aisles are blocked. This creates an environment where is there was to be an emergency the workers may not have a safe way to exit the store. The interesting point of the story is that it cites management not walking the stores as a source of the trouble. This is an interesting dynamic when you think about the interactions that are going on with this scenario. The employees are unpacking boxes or stacking boxes in ways that are blocking exits. In essence, they are creating an issue that could be easily avoided by not stacking boxes in the front of the exits. There is a reason they are performing an action that could endanger their own life. It could be that they don’t have enough room for boxes, it could be they do not understand the importance of keeping a clear exit, it could be that the employees don’t have enough time to correct the issues. The idea that management walks not being effective could be a root cause, is plausible. The management should train the employees to know why not to block the exits. They should set and enforce the standards. They should also give the employees the time and resources to get the job done right.
OSHA finally issues a confined space rule for construction. This is a long time coming. General industry has had a fairly robust program in place, but there was no specific guidance for construction. It was time that construction has the same protection as industry.
SeaWorld is fighting their OSHA violation from the death of a whale trainer in 2010. OSHA (of course) does not have specific guidance on whale training safety, but they do have the ability to fine a company based on the general duty clause. In this case, OSHA stated that they felt SeaWorld did not provide adequate training for their staff in regards to the work they are performing and the safe guards that should be in place. This shows that just because there is not a regulation, there still has to be safety precautions in place to protect workers from occupational illness and injury.
An interactive map shows occupation fatalities by location. An interesting and sobering tool.