Hazard recognition plays a vital role in keeping employees safe. Some hazards are easily recognized, for example an employee climbing up a 20-ft ladder while holding tools in both hands is an obvious fall hazard. While some safety hazards are immediately recognizable, others require training to spot and avoid. One such hazard is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Training is a key method to avoid the "ostrich zone." You do not want to bury your head when facing this hazard.
When personal injury events occur legal negligence actions may arise. Common law negligence is established by plaintiff showing defendant owed plaintiff a legal duty, to conform to a standard of care, defendant breached that duty, plaintiff suffered injury and there is a causal relationship between the breach and injury. FN 1 But what sources of standard of care proofs are available? How does a litigant go about proving standard of care?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 1,600 and 2,000 amputations occur annually due to power press operation. Another 18,000 people receive less serious injuries annually. Injury statistics compiled by OSHA for the years 1975 through 1983 confirm these figures. These numbers are alarming and unnecessarily high. Power presses can be used safely when the presses are properly designed to minimize the hazard that the operator is exposed to.
OSHA was created through the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. OSHA's mission is to ensure worker safety by creating and enforcing safety and health standards. OSHA does many good things to help maintain a safe workplace, but manufacturers often try to hide behind the shield of OSHA, putting blame on an employer for unsafe machinery or working conditions, when often the machinery was never safe to begin with. Some standards promote safety and some standards protect the manufacturer from product liability law suits. Most industrial standards are voluntary, unless they are specifically referenced in a Code of Federal Regulations / OSHA standard. OSHA standards are Federally mandated and are enforced by the Federal government.