During the last quarter of the year, many South Carolina employers hire part-time or temporary employees to help handle the holiday rush. However, some employers may not be aware of the regulations surrounding seasonal employment.
Inherent in certain industries are conditions that pose potential hazards to workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency of the federal Department of Labor, sets and enforces standards and provides education and training, and South Carolina has its own OSHA plan as well. However, not every known hazard has established OSHA standards for permissible exposure to workers.
Workers in North Carolina workplaces far too frequently face unsafe conditions that could pose a serious risk to their well-being. As part of the 2018 National Safety Council Congress, a deputy director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration presented the 10 most common workplace safety violations that the agency encountered during the 2018 fiscal year, highlighting particular areas of concern.
On Oct. 1, OSHA kicked off its National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavation safety. With the NEP comes certain changes that employers in South Carolina will want to be aware of. Employers will also want to review OSHA's Trenching and Excavation Quick Card, which lays out the basics of trenching safety.
On October 1, 2018, OSHA's revised National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation went into effect. The revision came as a response to the increasing number of worker deaths and injuries during trenching and excavation operations. South Carolina residents who work in the private construction industry should know that 104 out of the 130 excavation fatalities that OSHA recorded between 2011 and 2016 occurred in their industry.
Construction workers in South Carolina, as elsewhere, are at a high risk for on-the-job accidents, many of which can be fatal. About 20 percent of all private sector employee deaths are composed of construction site accidents. OSHA stated that 1,000 construction deaths occurred in 2016 and that 60 percent of them were preventable. These are the five leading causes of construction deaths.
Construction workers in South Carolina who work in high places know that many safety rules must be followed to prevent falls. Authorities at the construction site of the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort are continuing to look for the cause of a scaffold collapse that killed two men August 29. The local sheriff's office has started a death investigation. A spokeswoman for the department said that they want to be certain that it was an accident.
OSHA has released two bulletins reminding staffing agencies and host employers that they must protect temporary workers from noise exposure and respiratory hazards. This is part of OSHA's Temporary Worker Initiative, so employers in South Carolina should take note.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released bulletins that indicate host employers and staffing agencies have shared responsibility for the safety of temporary workers. Specifically, the bulletins address protections from noise and respiratory hazards. Because OSHA is a federal agency, its rules and regulations apply in South Carolina and across the U.S.
South Carolina workers, especially those who work with machines, know that safety is of utmost importance in the workplace. They may not be aware, however, that there are measures they or their employers can take to maintain a safe working environment. Using equipment can speed up the work process, but any machine can become harmful if not used properly.