Pittsburgh is known for its advanced manufacturing industry, and if this is the industry in which you earn your income, you will face multiple hazards during each shift you work. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes a long list of safety regulations and guidelines, accidents can happen at any time. Relying entirely on your employer to protect you from injuries might not be enough, and taking your own precautions might be smart.
You will not likely be able to anticipate all the circumstances that might arise to threaten your safety, but gathering knowledge on the most common occupational hazards, and how to mitigate them, might keep you out of the hospital. The best place to start might be to make sure you always wear appropriate personal protective equipment and comply with safety standards.
The following hazards are common in manufacturing
Some of the following dangers exist in all industries, but others are unique to manufacturing:
- Moving machinery: Stay away from machinery without safeguards to prevent contact with moving parts or flying objects. Injuries occur at the point of operation and the point of power transmission to pulleys, flywheels, couplings, connecting rods, spindles, cams, gears, cranks and chains.
- Slip-and-fall hazards: Slips in wet spills and trips over randomly placed objects can cause falls and severe injuries that could include fractured bones, back injuries or head injuries.
- Transportation accidents: All vehicles and mechanized equipment such as forklifts can strike you or run over you, and if you operate such a vehicle, you could fall from it. As a pedestrian worker, you might also be at risk of a vehicle and another object crushing you.
- Repetitive stress injuries: Overexertion and repetitive stress develop over time if you do not take frequent breaks, but that does not make them less severe. You could suffer long-term health problems and chronic pain from repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing, throwing and holding.
- Ergonomics: This is the science of fitting the job to the needs of the worker's body to prevent overexertion and musculoskeletal disorders. It includes taking frequent breaks and varying job allocations to avoid repetitiveness.
- Explosions and fires: These incidents can result from poor pipe fitting, faulty gas lines, open flames or combustible materials in improper storage. Blast injuries typically cause varying types of burn wounds and possible disfigurement.
Despite all your precautions, unanticipated circumstances might lead to on-the-job injuries. Fortunately, the state-regulated insurance program is there for injured Pennsylvania workers, but navigating workers' compensation benefits claims could be challenging at a time when you would instead prefer to focus on recovering and returning to work. However, help is available from a Pittsburgh law firm that has board-certified civil trial specialists to handle your case.