Construction workers in Minnesota need to be cognizant of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new rules for a potential unsafe working environment in confined spaces. Employers will need to determine the possible dangers, find ways to increase safety, train workers to handle the issues, and have a rescue plan in the event of an accident on the job.
Minnesota workers who have jobs that require them to work in trenches or other excavated areas may want to be aware that a cubic yard of dirt may weigh in excess of 3,000 pounds. This is enough weight to cause a worker fatality through crushing or suffocation. In the 10 years from 2000 through 2009, there were 350 deaths in the U.S. caused by cave-ins and the majority of these deaths were at depths of less than 10 feet. These types of fatal accidents, however, are preventable.
Minnesota residents might not know what a dangerous job it is to keep the state's electricity running, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does. Electrical lineworkers install and fix towers, power lines and poles by climbing up structures without safety harnesses, and this "free climbing" tactic will no longer be allowed because of a new federal law that takes effect this month.