Maryland residents who work in the mining industry may be familiar with the importance of on-the-job safety, but they may wonder how effective safety practices are. Since the Mining Safety and Health Administration was established in 1978, the number of deaths has consistently fallen. That year's deaths totaled 242, and the number in 2015 totaled 28, a decrease of nearly 90 percent over the 37-year period.
Employers that do not take adequate precautions to guard against winter hazards may experience more workplace injuries. Maintaining workplace safety requires different precautions during the winter, when many retail businesses in Maryland see a sharp increase in their rate of online sales as well as in-store customer traffic. As a result, conditions on store and warehouse floors often deteriorate. Businesses can prevent accidents by investing in basic winter safety equipment and strategies, including the practice of implementing pallet-racking inspections to ensure that proper procedures are being followed.
Construction work is one of the most dangerous types of jobs people do in Maryland. Because of the potential hazards involved, there are federal and state safety regulations in place to help make construction sites safer for workers and minimize the risk of accidents.
In Maryland and the rest of the U.S., the leading cause of death in the construction industry is falls. In 2014, about 40 percent of construction worker deaths were caused by a fall.
According to a Maryland occupational vibration consultant, approximately 2 million U.S. workers are exposed to hand-arm vibration hazards on the job each year. As many as 50 percent of them will develop a condition known as hand-arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS.
Many Maryland employers rely on temporary workers to fill important roles during employee vacations, family leave periods, and seasons of heavy activity. However, workplace injuries involving these temporary employees can be confusing due to the fact that both the employer and the temporary agency are involved with an individual's work activities. OSHA has provided recent clarification on the issue to assist those responsible for reporting injuries and recording details.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration focused its attention on the conditions found in inpatient health care facilities when it recently issued a compliance memo to OSHA regional offices and state plans. Titled 'Inspection Guidance for Inpatient Healthcare Settings," the June 2015 memo requires compliance staff in Maryland and around the country to make targeted inspections of this industry's employers that have high incident rates of work-related illnesses and injuries.
Maryland workers who are employed at manufacturing or processing facilities may be at risk of being injured or killed in an accident caused by combustible dust. Many different materials can become explosive when finely divided into dust, and some substances that are difficult to burn may still become extremely volatile when in particles small enough to hang in the air. Explosions involving combustible dust are often catastrophic and occur without warning, and they have been known to reduce workplaces to rubble. In 2008, an exploding cloud of sugar dust killed 14 workers in Georgia.
If a farm worker is struck by machinery or by livestock, it could lead to serious injury or death. Therefore, those under the age of 16 may be prohibited by child labor laws from using certain machinery or handling certain types of chemicals. In some cases, state laws may place additional restrictions on top of those imposed by federal law. Regardless of an employee's age, employers should adopt a safety first attitude to reduce the risk of a farm accident.
Workers in Maryland who are injured on the job are required to file their claims for workers' compensation within the two-year statute of limitations. In New Jersey, which has the same statutory period, a man who is attempting to collect on a workers' compensation claim after working for a decade at McDonald's is struggling to demonstrate that his torn rotator cuff is the result of an earlier injury caused by his work at the company.