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October 2015 Archives

Combustible dust is an explosive danger

Highly explosive combustible dust is a constant danger at many manufacturing and processing facilities in Colorado. Even materials that do not generally burn may become volatile when finely divided, and dust can lie dormant for years only to explode when atmospheric conditions are right. Workplace safety advocates and plant managers are awaiting rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concerning combustible dust, but the National Fire Protection Association published Standard 652 in 2015 to provide some guidance.

Efficient lockout procedures can reduce workplace injuries

Colorado residents may associate the term lockout with striking workers and angry picket lines, but in workplace safety circles the term applies to devices and procedures designed to ensure that dangerous machines are unable to operate while they are being inspected, repaired or moved. Having clear and efficient lockout procedures in place can reduce accidents and injuries and improve productivity.

Respiratory safety for health care workers

Many Colorado health care workers know that the rate of injuries and illnesses that occur during work in the health care industry are almost twice as high as the rate of illnesses and injuries in private industry overall. In 2013, for example, there were approximately 58,000 injuries and illnesses recorded by U.S. hospitals; this amounted to 6.4 injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time health care employees. To reduce injuries and illnesses, OSHA updated instructions for preventing hazards.

Workers' compensation may be denied after time has passed

Colorado workers who have been injured on the job should make sure that they file their workers' compensation claims in a timely fashion to reduce the chance that those claims will be denied. A former maintenance man for McDonald's is attempting to claim workers' compensation benefits for his rotator cuff injury that had been diagnosed in 2006, but McDonald's is arguing that the injury is related to an earlier one from 2001 that the man did not file a claim for. However, the man claims that the rotator cuff injury is unrelated to the earlier diagnosis of tendonitis. A New Jersey appellate court referred the case back to workers' compensation court to hear expert medical testimony regarding the injury.

Reviewing the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Employees in Colorado can take a number of interesting facts away from the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in September 2015. There were 4,679 fatal injuries in the workplace during 2014, increasing by 2 percent from the previous year. The rate of fatal workplace injuries increased by 13 percent among women, but they only accounted for 8 percent of the total recorded in 2014.

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