While workplace injuries and fatalities have been declining in the last few decades, there are still far too many people who get hurt – or killed – at work. Almost 4,680 workers died on the job in 2014 for an average of 13 deaths every day. The vast majority of those fatalities were in the private sector, and one-fifth of those were in the construction industry. It has been estimated that eliminating the top four causes of worker deaths on construction sites (falls, electrocutions, struck by an object, caught-in/between) would save 508 lives annually.
Also in 2014, nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers. Almost 75 percent of the injuries occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.4 percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining injuries occurred in goods-producing industries. Additionally, an estimated 722,300 injury and illness cases were reported in 2014 among the approximately 18.3 million state and local government workers in the public sector.
According to the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries amounted to nearly $62 billion in direct U.S. workers compensation costs. Based on injury data from 2013, the Index ranked the top five causes of serious, nonfatal workplace injuries as overexertion involving outside sources, falls on the same level, falls to a lower level, struck by an object, and bodily reaction.
Injuries from excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing can be somewhat avoided with proper training, asking for help, and using devices to assist wherever possible. Keeping work areas free of clutter can help prevent falls, as can anti-slip floor coatings and anti-slip footwear. Following safety guidelines about ladders, scaffoldings, and safety harnesses can reduce the likelihood of falls to lower levels, as can proper inspection and maintenance of these tools.
Properly stacking materials to prevent sliding or collapsing and not working under heavy machinery while it’s in operation can lower the risk of being struck by an object. Wearing personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields, hard hats, gloves, safety shoes, and ear plugs promotes general safety, though it’s important to have adequate training on their proper use. Bodily reaction injuries stem from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping, or tripping without falling. They can be reduced by eliminating clutter, properly placing tools, addressing issues of physical fitness, and revamping procedures where necessary.
Some fixes are unique to certain industries or jobsites. There are many creative ways to protect yourself at work. One tip that can be applied virtually anywhere is take your time. While it can be important to get things done on schedule or even in advance, many injuries occur when people hurry and take shortcuts. If you are trying to put your life back together after a workplace accident, or if you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping people and we can help you. Based in Macon, we proudly serve communities throughout Georgia. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out our online form.