While summertime in Philadelphia is an occasion for high school and college students to enjoy a well-deserved break from their studies, it is also a time for some to pick up a temporary job to earn money for the coming academic year. Many teenagers and young adults may find themselves in unfamiliar work environments, however, some of which carry the risk of workplace accidents.
A number of industries require the use of caustic and reactive chemicals in order to manufacture their end products. While careful handling, worker education and other safety measures generally prevent workers from becoming injured, unfortunately accidents still do occur. Late last month, a small explosion at a factory in Pennsylvania harmed two employees as they were combining certain chemicals.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun an investigation into a workplace accident that occurred across the border from Pennsylvania. Reports indicate that a roofer is in critical condition after he fell through the roof on which he was working and landed in a large vat of nitric acid.
Some prior posts on this blog have mentioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in its role as investigator of workplace accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country. But the agency does more than that. It also creates new safety regulations in response to workplace hazards. A new study performed by the Government Accountability Office, however, has revealed that OSHA can be inefficient in the latter role, potentially placing employees' lives in danger.
Pennsylvania companies know that they have to invest in research and development in order to grow and remain competitive in their respective industries. New technologies can be dangerous, however, and accidents sometimes happen while companies tinker with and perfect their products. Last week, an explosion rocked a General Motors research building that was performing tests on a new generation of electric car batteries.
Pennsylvania workers know that construction sites have the potential to injure and even kill those who work in them. Over the years, the construction industry has adopted a number of measures designed to improve workplace safety and reduce the number of workplace accidents. Unfortunately, proper safety standards are not always observed, and officials are investigating whether improper maintenance could have been the cause of a crane collapse that killed a construction worker this week.
As children, we may have seen downed power lines around our Pennsylvania neighborhoods. Our parents wisely cautioned us to stay away from them. Live wires can pose a significant risk to the health and life of anyone who comes into contact with them. Telecommunications workers operate around power lines every day, but usually are kept free from harm through proper safety measures. Employees have the right to expect that their employers are following applicable safety measures. The death of one worker illustrates how quickly things can go wrong when correct procedures are not observed.
Pennsylvania readers know that construction sites have the distinct potential to be a hazardous working environment. Workers often have to deal with heavy machinery, large quantities of raw materials and open floors that can lead to falls. While construction companies and their workers usually take proper safety precautions, accidents still can happen.
Many of the consumer goods in this country pass through a few massive distribution centers, where they are unloaded and reshipped to various cities, including Philadelphia. These centers rely on speed and inexpensive labor to keep costs down. But workers at one gargantuan collection of warehouses have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that they have been exposed to dangerous working conditions and have been denied even minimum wage compensation for their work.