Employers Can Help Reduce Workplace Fatalities
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,250 work-related fatalities in 2018, which is an increase of two percent compared to 2017. Transportation accidents accounted for 40 percent of all worker fatalities. Commercial truck drivers, including drivers of tractor-trailers, had the most fatalities of any specific occupational group. The rate of deaths for loggers, fishermen, pilots, and roofers was more than 10 times the national average.
Tragically, fatalities at work due to unintentional overdoses of drugs or alcohol increased by 12 percent in 2018. The threat of overdosing in the workplace parallels the overall opioid crisis, with drug overdoses representing the leading cause of preventable death outside the workplace, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). In response to the increase of worker fatalities and preventable deaths, the NSC issued a statement calling for employers to do more to reduce workplace fatalities.
According to the NSC, taking a more systematic approach to safety is the first step that employers must take. Assuming that deaths are just a cost of doing business is not acceptable. Instead, company leadership must set the tone by cultivating a culture of safety from the top down. This may include the following:
- Developing and implementing comprehensive safety policies
- Engaging all managers and workers in identifying hazards
- Involving employees in setting safety benchmarks and monitoring performance
- Investing more in training and risk assessment techniques
In particular, the NSC recommends that employers focus on leading performance indicators instead of statistics, such as injury rates and absenteeism, which are lagging performance indicators. Examples of leading performance indicators include the proactive identification of potential hazards in the operations of machinery and processes, the amount and quality of safety training, and the nature of interactions between management and workers regarding hazards.
If you or someone you know was a victim of a serious work accident, you may qualify for financial benefits. The skilled Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP can provide you with sound legal counsel on filing a claim. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-512-1500 today. We are available to assist residents of Pennsylvania from our office in Philadelphia.