Reports of dangerous safety lapses at a major nuclear laboratory might be of interest to North Carolina workers. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of one of the country's most advanced nuclear programs and the place where the atomic bomb was developed, has had a number of safety incidents in the past several years that carried the potential for catastrophic outcomes.
For many North Carolina employees, it is easy to become fatigued, especially if they are responsible for meeting deadlines while having busy work and non-work schedules. Because sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, the National Safety Council chose to focus on fatigue during the second week of its National Safety Month.
Hazard signs are an important part of workplace safety. They warn employees of potential dangers and remind them to use safety equipment in the area. However, many North Carolina work sites may be using safety signs that are not approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because they are out of date.
When there is a serious accident or injury in a North Carolina workplace, a federal agency might step in to ensure the work site is safe. A "close call alert" was issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration when a tractor-trailer made contact with a ground wire overhead. According to the alert, the accident occurred because the truck failed to maintain recommended clearance.
The use of robots in the workplace is on the rise, but this also means that employees in North Carolina and throughout the country are more vulnerable to injuries caused by them. Restaurant kitchens, food processing plants and hospitals are among the environments where robots may be found. The automotive industry also uses a large number of robots, some of them custom built. One Wisconsin production plan that builds robotic systems also has more than 50 robots on the floor.
Some North Carolina employees work in remote areas with minimal or no supervision. While many crane operators or electricians may be highly trained and skilled at their craft, it is generally a good idea for employers to have a safety plan. For most workers, this may involve checking in with supervisors or others to talk about potential hazards or otherwise confirm that all is well on the remote job site.
Some North Carolina workers may still be facing lead exposure in the workplace despite increased awareness about its dangers. The California Department of Public Health found that between 2012 and 2014, by the definition of the Centesr for Disease Control and Prevention, over 6,000 workers in that state had elevated blood levels of lead. This suggests that workers throughout the country might show similar levels of exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Association has estimated that more than 800,000 workers in general industry and a further 838,000 construction workers may face lead exposure. Jobs that leave workers particularly vulnerable to lead exposure include building renovation, metal production, plumbing, radiator repair, demolition, bridge work and battery manufacturing.
Chemical manufacturing plants in North Carolina can pose multiple risks. Both employers and employees should be aware of the kinds of injuries that can occur and what factors contribute to them.
Agriculture workers in North Carolina and nationwide continue to face hazards in grain silos, according to a new report on grain handling accidents. The report, conducted by Purdue University, comes out at a time when some agriculture industry groups are pushing for the discontinuation of federal safety awareness programs on grain handling.
Scissor lifts can be deadly for workers in North Carolina and across the United States, according to a hazard alert issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, the agency says employers can keep their workers safe by implementing effective controls, such as fall protection and proper training.