North Carolina residents might think about accident-related injuries when they consider workers' compensation claims. However, these aren't the only hazards that workers face. Some professionals, including those in the medical field, are at risk of experiencing cumulative trauma injuries.
Workers in North Carolina can be harmed when machinery in the workplace is unprotected and unguarded. A part of a machine that could capture a person or a part of his or her body, causing injury, is called a pinch point. A pinch point could trap a person between moving parts, between materials and the machine or between moving and stationary parts. Any machine can have a number of pinch points that could cause serious injuries to workers. These include robots, conveyor belts, printing presses, metal forming machines, construction equipment, rollers, assembly lines, plastic molding machinery, power doors and transmissions and other types of equipment.
Employers and employees alike should be aware of a new study that suggests a link between mental health factors and the number of workplace injuries among women. The study was conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work & Environment, but the results hold just as much relevance for those in North Carolina.
Emergency medical service workers in North Carolina may benefit from guidelines that have been created to lower their work-related fatigue. The guidelines were drafted by both the National Association of State EMS Officials and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
More than half of the emergency medical services personnel around the country say they suffer from severe fatigue while at work that impairs them both physically and mentally. Researchers from the National Association of State EMS Officials and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center discovered this while reviewing more than 38,000 studies, surveys and other documents dealing the challenges faced by first responders in North Carolina and across the U.S. The results of the research were presented to a panel of experts and published on Jan. 11 by the medical journal Prehospital Emergency Care.
While workers in every industry face some safety hazards, it is well known that employees in factories and warehouses are especially at risk to injury. This is as true in North Carolina as it is anywhere else in the nation. According to OSHA, the most common warehouse accidents involve forklifts, electrical wiring, holes and gaps in the floor and power transmission components. Fires, explosions and chemical exposure, often due to improper lockout/tagout procedures, are also frequent.
In North Carolina, many women work within the construction industry and have issues that are particular to them. In an effort to help to address the safety needs of women in the construction industry, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced its partnership with the National Association of Women in Construction.
Roughly a quarter of warehouse injuries occur on a loading dock. Therefore, those who work on docks in North Carolina or elsewhere may need to be cognizant of their surroundings. Injuries may occur when a truck separates from a dock or a forklift falls off the dock. While simply closing dock doors when they are not in use may be a valid safety measure, it may present issues from a ventilation standpoint.
Cold weather may be an issue for workers in North Carolina and other parts of the country. When temperatures drop, workers should be given access to shelter, hot drinks and other resources to keep warm while working outdoors. Ideally, a worker will be able to spend 15 minutes indoors for each hour spent outside. Workers can help themselves by wearing clothing that is breathable as to not cut off circulation.
According to serious injury and fatality prevention programs, North Carolina workers may be safer if their workplaces focus on identifying the potential for accidents and trying to prevent them rather than waiting for an accident to happen and then investigating it. The program takes the approach that near-miss incidents are a case of luck rather than a safety system working and that identifying those incidents can be important in making workplaces safer.