For those who work in the comfy confines of an air conditioned office space, the idea of being injured or even dying seems outlandish at best. Unfortunately, for many occupations, the threat of a workplace accident happening is something employees must consider every day. This past April, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics finalized its data on worker fatalities in 2014. The report found that the U.S workplace fatality rate increased for the first time since 2010, and the total number of an-the-job deaths were at their highest since 2008.
Out of the nearly 5,000 work-related deaths, 4,454 were men and 367 were women, and most of the victims fell between the ages of 45 and 64-years-old. The industries that saw the most deaths occurred in construction (899 deaths), transportation and warehousing (766), agriculture (584), government (435), as well as professional and business services (425). The most common cause of workplace fatalities are car crashes, which resulted in 1,984 worker deaths in 2014. Unfortunately, a vast majority of those deaths were caused due to distracted driving. The National Safety Council encourages every professional organization to put safe driving policies in place, and to remind their employees that making a client call or taking part in a meeting over the phone isn’t worth the potential risk.
The Huffington Post reports that for every seven seconds that passes, a worker in the United States suffers an injury which requires medical assistance. These injured workers combined for 99 million work days in 2014, and the leading cause of these injuries were overexertion, being hit by an object, or injuries resulting from falls. Works should remember that overexertion or ergonomic injuries don’t always happen in blue collar industries. “Whether lifting heavy loads or spending too much time typing on your computer, be aware of your body’s limits. Make sure you take regular breaks, avoid repetitive tasks and set up your workstation to fit your body,” the article reads.
PREVENTING WORKPLACE INJURIES
Arbill, a website which focuses on safety in the workplace, has provided the following tips for preventing serious injuries or death while on the clock:
Shortcuts and Shortcomings
While it might be tempting to cut a few corners in order to get the job done quicker, it’s not always the safest bet. Taking shortcuts means that the worker did not do their due diligence, which can lead to big consequences down the line. Additionally, if there is something unclear about the instructions, it’s best to hold off on starting the task until getting clarification.
Safety In Transit
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace-driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion a year. It’s important to make sure that all company vehicles are inspected each month and the necessary repairs are made as soon as possible.
Weather The Weather
Before heading out on the job in the morning workers should take a look outside and check the upcoming forecast for an idea of what type of weather they can expect. If it’s going to be a cold one, it’s best to dress in layers and properly cover the head, feet, hands and face. If possible, keeping an extra change of clothes in case clothes get too wet, is a good idea. Conversely, if it’s scorching hot outside, wearing loose-fitting clothes, taking frequent breaks and drinking plenty of water, can help to avoid injuries.
Make PPE A VIP
Personal Protective Equipment is crucial to prevent injury, so it needs to be worn properly at all times in the work area. The PPE includes: Goggles and other face protection gear, gloves, hard hats, safety shoes, and ear plugs if necessary. Employers are encouraged to not only make sure this safety equipment is provided, but that all employees know how to properly use it.
Workplace cleanliness can go a long way in making sure workers are in a safe environment. Poor housekeeping like scattered paper, debris, clutter and spills can happen on a daily basis and when they aren’t taken care of, it can become a real hazard. Workers should pay attention to their work space and make sure it’s organized and out of the walking path of other workers.
Even if all of these preventative steps have been taken, injuries in the workplace can still occur. If the injury is severe enough, a worker can find themselves without a source of income for months and even years. That's where The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC can help. Our experienced attorneys will not only make sure you get reimbursed for any medical services you may be entitled to, but they will fight to recover any wages lost due to the injury. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.