Disconcerting Safety News

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There were 5,190 work related deaths in 2016 (the most current data recently published). This marked the first year in nearly a decade with more than 5,000 fatalities annually and the third consecutive year the number of fatalities increased. What are causing these undesirable trends? It does have relationship with an improving economy and other news we’re aware of including workplace violence and drug overdoses. Here are a few of the details taken from three studies:There were 5,190 work related deaths in 2016 (the most current data recently published). This marked the first year in nearly a decade with more than 5,000 fatalities annually and the third consecutive year the number of fatalities increased. What are causing these undesirable trends? It does have relationship with an improving economy and other news we’re aware of including workplace violence and drug overdoses. Here are a few of the details taken from three studies:

• Transportation related accidents increased 25% and not only with truckers. Service, sales, and technical employees involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents increased as well.• Workplace homicides increased by 83 cases to 500 in 2016, and workplace suicides increased by 62 to 291. This is the highest homicide figure since 2010.

• Overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016. A 32% increase. Overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012. One study indicated the opioid crisis has infiltrated American workplaces.

• Fatal work injuries from falls, slips, or trips continued a general upward trend that began in 2011, increasing 6 percent to 849 in 2016 and 25 percent overall since 2011. Falls increased in the construction sectors most significantly with roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners.

• Significant increases in work related deaths were also reported among minority workers and for those above the age of 55.  

Safety experts generally advise employers to educate their management team and employees about these hazards and recognized safeguards. Also conduct a workplace and business activity risk assessment to detect opportunities to eliminate or reduce hazards.  

Ron Humphreys Safety awareness is a heavy topic; it sinks to the bottom unless stirred back to the surface by safety education and training!

Ron Humphreys is an authorized OSHA Trainer and Safety Consultant for The Starr Group. He provides Risk Reduction Services to The Starr Group’s Commerical Customers.

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The Starr Group is not only a great disaster response company, as we found out with the Microburst in July of 2010 when we sustained major roof damage, but they also provide a function that will help your company internally with expertise in human resources, OSHA requirements, and team building.

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