Some people in the New City, New York, area or one of the other suburbs may have heard about the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. Still, they may not fully understand what this agency does and what its role in workplace safety is.
According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the potency of the synthetic opioid fentanyl is estimated at 50 times the strength of heroin. This threatens the workplace safety of all first responders such as emergency medical personnel, law enforcement, rescue workers, firefighters and even border patrol officials. In New York, these workers respond to tens of thousands of calls, any one of which could involve a fentanyl overdose or other potential exposure to this opioid.
Every work environment has its own unique hazards, even offices. Although administrative buildings in New York might pose different dangers than those to which construction workers and employees in the manufacturing industry are exposed, workplace safety is as important. When someone's head is struck against a filing cabinet in a fall in an office, it can lead to the same type of brain injury a construction worker might suffer when hitting his or her head against a concrete pillar.
Authorities reported concern over the number of fatalities that are reported in the sanitation industry. According to the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), 132 lives were lost in work-related accidents in 2017. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health says non-compliance with workplace safety gives rise to many of the injuries and fatalities in this industry.
Tree workers in New York and elsewhere face multiple occupational hazards. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers in all industries must provide safe work environments. Their responsibilities include providing employees with adequate training in workplace safety to prepare them for the hazard they will face while doing their jobs.
According to federal safety regulations governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers nationwide, including in New York must protect workers from known safety hazards. One area in which control is often neglected is roof work. When workplace safety plans are not in place for working at elevated levels, the consequences could be devastating.
Many employers in New York focus on nothing but the bottom line. They might not realize that prioritizing workplace safety can significantly improve company profits. Every workplace injury has a negative impact on productivity, and every workers' compensation claim increases insurance premiums. Safety authorities also suggest that employees who feel safe in their work environments are more productive than those who are always concerned for their safety.
Window washers in New York have some of the scariest jobs there are. Nevertheless, the skyscraper window washers seem quite happy to be working on scaffolds that are suspended hundreds of feet off the ground. The city's department of labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have strict regulations when it comes to workplace safety for window washers. It starts with thorough inspections of the scaffold and its rope-descent systems before the start of any job.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes specific safety regulations for particular industries in New York and across the country. However, it also provides guidelines under a general duty clause to prevent injuries that can happen in any work environment. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says one such a general workplace safety risk is back injury, which makes up almost 20 percent of all reported occupational illnesses and injuries.
It is often said that many employers in New York prioritize profits over the safety of employees. This could be because many business owners might feel that placing the focus on workplace safety can jeopardize profits by distracting attention from production. However, rapid technological changes have started to provide safety options that can be practical without compromising productivity.