While OSHA says that workers must have fall safety equipment when working more than four feet in the air, employers don't always provide such protection. In fact, some employers consider it optional or don't buy equipment until after an accident happens. In some cases, employers aren't sure what type of equipment to buy, which is why they forgo it altogether even if they understand its value.

Therefore, it may be a good idea for employers to put together a safety team that can determine the best fall protection equipment for a given company. The team can do research and take other steps necessary to ensure that they balance worker safety with the cost of making such a purchase. Another option is to identify which application is most relevant for a given company and buy equipment for that application.

For instance, if the company's main application is unloading or reloading, equipment should be purchased to protect workers while performing those tasks. Buying the right fall protection gear can help to save lives and reduce workplace injuries. This can help prevent costs related to site shutdowns or medical bills for injured workers. Furthermore, companies that fail to abide by OSHA regulations expose themselves to steep fines for violating federal safety regulations.


California residents may be following the story of a gas explosion that injured three people at a Bronx high school. Workers were installing a new science lab when the accident took place at about 8 p.m. on Aug. 20. The accident occurred when a worker used a lit match to see if gas was going through the line as designed.

There were seven workers from a construction company at the school at the time of the accident. Three of the workers had serious burn injuries, and all seven were taken to area hospitals. The explosion caused damage to the 4th, 5th and 6th floor of the school with the 6th floor suffering the most damage.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the school would not be able to open on time, but that all students would be placed at nearby schools. An area assemblyman said that no one was going to be allowed back into the building until it was safe to do so. It is believed that some rooms on the 7th floor of the school suffered structural damage in the wake of the explosion.


Workers in manufacturing and other industries in California and throughout the United States will receive additional support in the prevention of certain types of serious workplace injuries. Specifically, the Occupational Safety Health Agency has recently issued an updated version of its National Emphasis Program directive on amputations.

OSHA's directive calls on employers to better identify and work to eliminate serious hazards in the workplace. The directive targets general industry workplaces where machinery is present that is likely to cause amputations. These industries include machine shops, bakeries, sawmills, meat processing plants and other manufacturers of food products. Data reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate these industries have the highest rates of amputations among workers.

Data from 2013 reveals that 2,000 workers suffered an amputation that year, with the manufacturing sector experiencing a rate of amputations more than double that of all private industry. According to OSHA, this sector had an amputation rate of 1.7 per 10,000 full-time employees in 2013, whereas private industry overall had only 0.7 amputations per 10,000 employees.


Although railroad companies are required to upgrade safety technology by the end of 2015, only three companies have filed formal plans to do so. The new technology upgrades are to involve positive train control, which is designed to automatically slow or stop trains when necessary via GPS as well as radio and computer software. Advocates hope that the technology can help prevent accidents due to trains traveling at unsafe speeds or into areas where crews may be working.

One such advocate is the National Transportation Safety Board, which has lobbied for such technology for more than 40 years. It believes that PTC would have prevented 145 crashes, which would have saved 300 lives and avoided 6,700 injuries. However, some railroad companies say that they have experienced unanticipated problems that have made it difficult to comply with the new rules.

Despite not being one of the companies that has submitted a plan for government approval, Amtrak says that it will have PTC available on its Northeast Corridor by Dec. 31. BNSF Railway, Metrolink and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority are the three railroads that have submitted plans. BNSF is the second-largest freight railroad in America while Metrolink and the PTA are commuter lines in Los Angles and Philadelphia, respectively.


California workers may be interested in a series of mining industry fatalities that occurred in a single day across the country. These deaths have prompted one government agency to step up its enforcement and education activities in order to prevent further harm.

On Aug. 3, three mine workers in three different states were killed in workplace accidents. One work accident victim, an 18-year-old at a Virginia quarry, was buried beneath tons of stone and sand when a silo on the job site collapsed. The other incidents took place in South Dakota and Nevada. This is the first time that this many incidents have occurred on a single day since 2002.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is increasing its enforcement of safety regulations in the wake of these three deaths. This will include more facility inspections, concentrating on particular violations that are commonly associated with mining fatalities. Additionally, the agency will put more effort into educating the industry on the dangers that these violations can present. This includes having inspectors on the ground and at the job sites, educating miners and site operators first-hand about the potential for serious and fatal accidents, along with how to prevent them. A spokesperson for the MSHA points out that these efforts will require cooperation industry-wide.

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