Workplace Safety

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Workplace Safety
Andrew J. Burns
CIS 111 Section 043
University of Kentucky

Bad things happen to millions of people every single day. It could be physical, emotional, financial, psychological; sometimes permanent damage is done, sometimes the damage can be fixed. Sadly, millions of people are permanently wounded at their work yearly in the United States, and thousands of those people will die because of that incident. Imagine how your loved ones would feel if they received word that you had been killed on the job. Imagine being permanently injured from your work because someone didn’t care enough to test and make sure your position was safe, and losing your ability to hear, see, or move properly, or if one of these things happened to one of your own loved ones. You might think this is unlikely, but it happens quite regularly, and to a great number of people. As I said before, tons of people everywhere are affected by work related safety issues, and it is a big deal. Surveys are taken every year to calculate how many injuries and deaths occur in the United States due to safety problems at the workplace. The survey taken in 2011 revealed that 4609 work related fatalities occurred that year (U.S. Department of Labor). Hilda Solis, the United States Secretary of Labor, stated that “Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a work place injury from which some may never recover.” Those are huge numbers, and should definitely not go unnoticed by the public. I witnessed first-hand the unsafe environment of working in a factory for a few months. While I was working there, there were tons of forklifts always driving around the factory at pretty fast speeds, and if you weren’t paying attention, you could easily get hit by one. They also put out a large amount of emissions. As soon as you walked into the factory, you could instantly smell their emissions, and there’s no way they were good for the lungs, especially if you have to work there year round like the regular employees. Complicated, unguarded machines were another major hazard. There were many machines at the factory making plastic and styrofoam that could easily burn you if you just barely touched it. One of the guys I worked with accidentally brushed his arm up against one of the ovens melting plastic and he was burned really badly. His skin bubbled up right after and it later left a nasty scar on his arm. Also, with the factory being in a closed space, the sound waves that the machines produced would have no efficient way of leaving the building, rendering you very vulnerable to permanent hearing loss. According to the Department of Health, “Excessive noise levels over a long period of time will gradually and painlessly permanently damage your hearing.” It was for sure as loud, if not louder than heavy traffic in there. I’m convinced I lost a little of my hearing from just working there in the summer. I find myself saying “what?” a lot more to people now. Also, don’t count yourself out just because you think you work in a safe are behind a desk all day. Unnoticeable things like loud A/C units and certain emissions from various materials in the room can still cause significant health problems if exposed to them over enough time. A perfect example of this would be the infamous asbestos issue. Asbestos is a mineral that was used in making insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall, and things of that nature. Before it was banned in 1980, businesses and builders used it heavily in the materials they used (Garcia). Little did people know that fibers would break off of the asbestos and would eventually be inhaled by the people working in the building. Eventually, this would lead to be a major cause of lung cancer across the nation. Asbestos was not rigorously inspected and tested enough before it was put in use. Consider the common things we use...
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