Over 4,700 workers in the United States sustained fatal injuries while on the job in the last few years, down almost 11% from 5,333 in 2019 and marking the lowest death count in seven years, new statistics from the Department of Labour reveal. Although this is a hopeful downturn, workplace accidents continue to be an ongoing concern nationwide: a worker becomes injured every seven seconds, totalling 12,900 injured employees daily, and 4.7 million annually on average. By taking a proactive approach to ensuring workplace health and safety, employees can better avoid accidents and stay safe at work.
The Most Dangerous Industries
In 2020, a worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury. Fatal transportation accidents dropped by 16%. Jobs involving handling heavy objects, along with construction work, were responsible for almost half (47.7%) of workplace deaths. Additionally, exposure to toxic chemicals or environments resulted in 672 employee fatalities; accidental drug overdoses were responsible for 388 (nearly 60%) of these deaths — up from nearly 49% in 2019. In fact, overdose-related deaths have been steadily increasing over the past twenty years, only to accelerate even more so in recent years due to the pandemic and an increasingly dangerous drug supply.
Staying Aware of Safety Hazards
Although employers are legally required to abide by health and safety standards, employees should also keep an eye out for safety hazards in the workspace and report them as soon as possible. Wobbly steps, tiles, or floorboards, loose carpet, leaks or spills, stray cables, broken desks and chairs, and defective equipment are the most common risks to stay alert for. If a worker does sustain an injury on the job, or if the worst were to happen, a Phoenix wrongful death attorney could be of great help, or other local legal experts depending on your area.
Planning for Emergencies
In addition to looking out for common safety hazards, workers also need to plan for emergencies, such as, fire, medical emergencies, power failure, and natural disasters. Knowing the correct way to respond is essential for navigating an unexpected situation calmly and confidently and reducing or containing the harm. The health and safety training provided by employers is a key way employees can prepare for workplace emergencies; these sessions will detail necessary steps to take in such a situation. It’s also important to stay aware of all nearby emergency exits, along with any signage detailing health and safety risks that may be present in certain areas.
Although workplace fatalities have declined in the US recently, accidents and injuries remain an ongoing concern. By avoiding common safety hazards as well as planning for emergencies, employees can better keep themselves safe in the workplace. Keeping employee safety front and centre is not just a legal obligation, but an ethical one as well–after all–a safe worker is a happy worker.
The notable reduction in workplace fatalities over the past seven years underscores the collective commitment to safer work environments in the US. Through collaborative efforts by employers, government agencies, and workers, this achievement not only saves lives but also contributes to improved workplace morale, productivity, and overall industry growth. As the nation continues on this trajectory, the challenge lies in maintaining and building upon this success to ensure that every worker returns home safely at the end of the day.