Construction workers in Virginia may have good reason to worry about the safety of the very air they breathe on the job. Silica dust can be a significant contaminant at construction sites, generated when cutting, sanding or grinding concrete, brick, drywall and other standard construction materials. While silica is very common at construction sites, it can also carry grave dangers. However, enforcement of federal regulation has only been in place for six months, and many sites report that compliance continues to be weak and limited.
Virginia truck drivers should be on the alert in mid-July. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 15-21. During the initiative, participating law enforcement officers will be on the patrol for commercial and passenger vehicle drivers who are exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors.
Warehouses in Virginia have become busy workplaces as more retail shopping shifts to online outlets. Workers must store and move large amounts of inventory, often in close quarters. Boxes on high shelves, forklifts and slippery floors routinely create workplace hazards. Warehouse managers have the ability to reduce the chances of accidents by training workers and installing barriers and automation equipment designed to protect people from injury and potential death.
On-the-job injuries are all too common in Virginia, especially in fast-paced work environments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that approximately 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries every day. When both employers and employees neglect to enforce safety guidelines, injury rates increase, which causes more workers' compensation costs and medical expenses. Productivity goes down as does employee morale and retention.
According to some safety advocates, regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fall short of what is necessary to protect workers in Virginia. Since the creation of the agency, OSHA has created only about 30 guidelines for chemical exposures on top of the original 470 rules inherited from industry standards in the 1960s. The agency must overcome significant hurdles to establish even one chemical exposure limit. Studies that involve dozens of researchers and millions of dollars must take place to gather data proving a chemical is dangerous.