Iron workers in California perform some of the nation's most dangerous jobs. While doing construction work on multi-story buildings, these professionals are at a great risk of falling. To protect them from workplace injuries and deaths, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has fall protection standards that must be followed by employers.

OSHA standards for fall protection apply to all workers who perform tasks at least 15 feet above ground level. These workers must be protected with guardrails, safety nets, fall restraints, positioning devices and personal fall arrest systems. Despite these requirements, OSHA regularly cites construction employers for fall protection violations, and falls are among the leading causes of death and injury on construction sites. While employers are obligated to follow OSHA guidelines at a minimum, they are also advised to recognize hazards and develop their own policies for maintaining worker safety.

There are certain safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems that all employers must follow. A personal fall arrest system must not allow the worker to come into contact with a lower level after falling, and the worker must not be able to free fall more than 6 feet. Further, the personal fall arrest system must have the strength to withstand two times the potential impact energy that could be caused by the employee falling.


Employees in California may benefit from learning more about the issues associated with emergency response, hazmat identification and control. One of the most critical tasks to complete in a catastrophic accident involving hazardous materials is to determine the chemical compounds involved in the incident. Addressing errors in the chain-of-custody process may be one of the most effective strategies for improving how these accidents are managed. Railcars, tankers, containers and trailers are all significantly affected by the integrity of the controls within the global supply chain.

Current technology can help enterprises deploy hazmat railcars, containers and trailers that are equipped with container security devices, or CSDs. Making these conveyances and containers smart with more recent tech applications can help provide more precise evidence about details concerning the contents or the shipping. The evidence is often accessible by using an app on a smartphone or another similar device.

Verifying the identity of the personnel, the qualities of the content being shipped and any corresponding item numbers may be essential for quickly gathering accurate information in the event of a hazmat emergency. The CSD activates the system for communicating pertinent data, and can automatically transfer the data to emergency personnel. Some of the vital data that is transferred to emergency medical personnel include isolation procedures, protective actions and the amount of distance recommended for staying safe in the event of an accident.


Temporary labor continues to be prevalent throughout California and continues to rise nationwide. An assessment of workplace injury data performed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that temporary employees suffer on-the-job accidents and injuries more often than those who are permanently employed.

Research published by ProPublica also supported this finding with figures that showed that temporary laborers faced injury rates twice as high as people in permanent positions. The research focused on severe injuries in which workers were crushed, broke bones or suffered punctures and lacerations.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, roughly 17 million people in 2013 filled positions designated as temporary. Confusion about whether the contracting employer or staffing agency was responsible for safety and hazard training has been mentioned as one of the potential reasons for the higher rate of injury. As an industry, staffing agencies are beginning to seek best practices to reduce injury rates. For example, a regional manager for Kelly Services explained that said staffing companies should partner with client companies to determine safety training needs and perform quarterly assessments. Ongoing training about workplace hazards should also take place.


An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the death of a man in an industrial 35-foot-long pressure cooker resulted in charges against Bumble Bee Foods, a plant operations director and the former safety manager. The worker died in the Santa Fe Springs plant. Another worker did not know he was inside the cooker cleaning it when he filled it with 22,000 pounds of tuna.

The pressure cooker reached a temperature of 270 degrees after being turned on. During this time, a supervisor noticed that the 62-year-old victim was missing. Workers found his body two hours later when the tuna cooker was opened.

According to Los Angeles prosecutors, the charges specify that the two managers, along with the company, did not enforce a safety plan or establish rules for workers in confined spaces. If convicted, the managers could face a possible three years in prison plus fines up to $250,000. Fines against Bumble Bee Foods could reach as high as $1.5 million.


California residents may have noticed that the number of high-rise construction projects being undertaken in the stare has increased recently as the economy slowly recovers from the 2008 financial crisis. Many of these projects use scaffolding systems that are raised or lowered mechanically because they are simple to put into place and relatively easy to dismantle after the work has been completed. However, the systems were developed after OSHA implemented its scaffolding safety rules, and some safety experts feel that protocols should be updated in light of the new technology.

Mast-climbers are platforms that are raised or lowered after being attached towers connected to the wall of a building, and they are often used by window installers or masons to perform finishing work. However, the systems are complex to use, and workers require specialized training before they are able to operate them safely. Some observers have speculated that a lack of this type of training may have contributed to a March 2015 construction accident in North Carolina that claimed the lives of three Latino construction workers.

The North Carolina accident also brought attention to a disproportionate injury rate among Latino workers in the construction industry. It is believed that language barriers on construction sites may contribute to a higher number of workplace injuries among Latinos, and some point out that these workers are sometimes reluctant to file complaints about unsafe conditions.

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