The Unique Hazards of Green JobsAugust 8, 2018
More and more companies and industries across the country are making considerable efforts to “go green.” In addition to being more environmentally conscious, these new jobs help revitalize the economy by getting more people back to work.
However, employees who work in the renewable energy sector face a unique set of workplace hazards, in addition to common hazards like falls, confined space hazards, and fires. These industries, whether classified as construction or utilities, are still subject to Workers’ Compensation insurance.
Safety experts are investigating new standards that may help keep workers safe as the number of green jobs continues to grow.
Common Green Jobs and Associated Hazards
Workers in this fast-growing sector are responsible for manufacturing, installing, and maintaining solar energy systems, including solar electric and solar thermal, or solar water heating.
Workers in the solar energy industry face the following hazards:
- Crane and Hoist Safety
- Heat/Cold Stress
- Exposure to toxic substances
While beneficial to the environment, recycling jobs pose certain risks to workers, including:
- Exposure to hazardous material
- Traffic safety
- Moving machine parts
- Unexpected machine startup
- Lifting injuries
- Slip and fall
Wind turbines are used to generate electricity from wind. Wind energy workers face the following hazards on the job:
- Falls from high places
- Burns from fires
By weatherizing homes and making them more energy efficient, it helps conserve energy and save money. However, workers are exposed to the following hazards:
- Chemical hazards
This is a growing industry, particularly in urban areas across the United States. Green Roof workers face some of the following workplace hazards:
- Silica dust exposure
- Heat/cold stress
- Crane, derrick, and hoist accidents
This involves using the heat from the earth to generate electricity. Some systems pump water through underground piping, while others drill directly into the earth’s geothermal reservoirs.
Some of the hazards associated with this growing industry include:
- Silica exposure
- Welding and cutting injuries
- Trenching and excavation accidents
Biofuels come from resources like grains, vegetable oils, and treated industrial waste. The two main examples of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel, which can cause serious hazards, including:
- Fires and explosions
- Chemical reactivity hazards
- Toxicity hazards
While green jobs are still considered relatively new, many of the hazards associated with these jobs are not. For example, falls, lockout/tagout hazards, and electrocutions have been common workplace concerns for quite some time. As a result, safety standards have been in place, and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for years.
As green jobs continue to grow and evolve, new standards will likely be developed to address the specific hazards. For example, the American Society of Safety Professionals and the American National Standards Institute recently launched the first industry consensus standard for the construction and demolition of wind turbines, which helps raise awareness of specific hazards that people may not have been aware of previously.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Injured Workers
If you or a loved one works in the renewable energy industry and has been injured on the job, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and secure the maximum financial benefits that you deserve. We will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.