Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment of which the safety hazards are often disregarded. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the facility of the U.S. Postal Service Network Distribution Center in Iowa after unsafe forklift operations were reported. Inspectors determined that the employers failed to comply with safety regulations to prevent workplace injuries.
The owners of excavating companies have an enormous responsibility to protect their employees from the multiple hazards they have to face on a daily basis. The number of injuries and fatalities in excavation and trench accidents in Iowa and other states represent a significant percentage of total workplace injuries recorded nationally every year. For this reason, there are strict safety regulations to which employers must adhere.
According to regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, any worker in an aerial lift or cherry-picker must wear fall protection such as a safety harness that is securely tethered at all times. Employers nationwide, including in Iowa, must provide workers with the appropriate personal protective gear and also train them in the proper use of it. Furthermore, to prevent workplace injuries, employees must be monitored to ensure compliance with these regulations.
In a somewhat surprising victory, Iowa workers at a Tyson Foods processing plant in Storm Lake had a $2.9 million judgment in their favor upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law suit originated over whether workers were being properly paid for the time necessary to put on and take off the personal protective equipment the must wear for the jobs on the plant's "kill" floor and for those who work at processing the animals in the "fabrication" floor.
Often, businesses appear to view safety regulations as an impediment to business getting done. Iowa employers complain of "red tape" that makes jobs more expensive and increases their costs. But in the vast majority of cases, many of these safety regulations were only put in place after many workers were injured or killed in the performance of these tasks.