Thursday, May 26 2022

Based on statewide inspections of public sector workplaces, the New Jersey Department of Labor has released a list of top hazards reported in 2021.

The list is compiled annually by the Office of Occupational Safety and Health of Public Employees of NJDOL and aims to raise awareness of the most common risks leading up to the New Year.

“Take this as a wake-up call for the industries we regulate,” said Howard Black, NJDOL deputy commissioner for the public safety and occupational safety and health division. “They can look at this and see whether or not this is something they need to take care of.”

Both public and private sector employers can apply for a on-site consultation of PSEOH, in order to anticipate potential dangers for workers.

“We don’t give orders to comply based on these findings – we issue a report and the employer has to agree to fix whatever we find,” Black said.

Top 10 NJDOL Safety and Health Risks in Public Sector Workplaces (2021)

ten. Dangers to the firefighter – non-compliance with a New Jersey administrative code for firefighters that covers regulations regarding response equipment, appliances, fire department organizational structure, special duties and services performed, training, self-contained breathing apparatus and safety protocols.

9. Problems in confined spaces – lack of permits or inappropriate mitigation of dangers in confined spaces that can create a dangerous work area; confined spaces constructed in such a way that an entering person could be suffocated or trapped.

8. Insufficient fire prevention efforts – flammable or combustible materials improperly stored; no plan to prevent unintentional ignition.

7. Lack of communication regarding hazardous substances – insufficient communication concerning toxic or dangerous materials present on the site and their use; lack of instructions for users on how to handle materials or what protection to wear; no instruction on what to do in case of accidental exposure.

6. Inappropriate storage – materials stacked unstably or improperly stored; move materials without proper training.

5. Risks of walking – open holes in the ground or the ground; no guardrails on raised platforms; no guardrails on storms; risk of tripping and slipping.

4. No machine guard – the operating points of machines or moving parts are not covered to avoid injuries.

3. Uncontrolled dangerous energy – power supply not disengaged or locked before the start of maintenance on heavy machinery; Unreleased stored energy from the machine before performing maintenance, such as air released from an air compressor.

2. Electrical problems – risk of electric shock, electrocution or electric fire; overloaded circuits or power cords; electrical exposures in wet or damp places; exposed electrical conductors and ungrounded electrical connections or equipment.

Henry Mandel / Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley

1. Lack of escape routes or emergency plans – no emergency evacuation plan or consideration of employees evacuated in an emergency; blocked or poorly signaled outputs.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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