An alarming number of United States workers are injured or killed on the job. Workplace safety is a serious concern, and one that too many employers take lightly. Hard working people are placed in harms way by carelessness and disregard for human life.
The statistics are staggering. Every day in the United States workers are injured and 13 people are killed on the job. Hard working people and their families suffer when employers disregard the laws and regulations put in place for worker safety. While many people think of workplace deaths as a problem mostly found in developing countries – the statistics speak otherwise. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2010 4,690 workers were killed on the job. That is 4,690 families that will never again see their loved one due to a workplace accident that will forever change their lives.
“Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy. American workers are not looking for a handout or a free lunch. They are looking for a good day’s pay for a hard day’s work. They just want to go to work, provide for their families, and get home in one piece.”
– Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Workers Memorial Day speech April 26, 2012
Laws have been passed to increase workplace safety. These laws and regulations are aimed at decreasing the number of workplace accidents, injuries and death. Many regulations seem like common sense to those who are actually walking beams at a construction site. However, to the politician who is far removed from the sparks of a welding torch, many “common sense” rules had to be deeply researched and recommended by advisors. Establishing laws and regulations is the tool the government uses to help protect workers. Unfortunately, even with additional regulation in place, many workplace accidents still occur. In 2011 the amount of work related fatalities decreased by only 81. While every life saved is an important step in eliminating work related deaths, we still have a long way to go – just ask one of the 4,609 families that lost a loved one in 2011.
Some states have taken the federal legislation and expanded upon it. New York State has developed its own program to ensure workplace safety, DOSH Workplace Safety & Loss Prevention. This agency program requires employers with a payroll of over $800,000 and an experience modification rating over 1.2 to undergo a comprehensive safety and loss prevention consultation. This program seeks to teach employers how to better implement procedures and processes around increased safety. Safety consultant’s work with employers on a one on one basis in an effort to make sure no life is lost.
The government is trying to increase the safety of US workers and they will continue to enact more applicable policies and regulations aimed at reducing workplace injuries and deaths. Even with increased regulation there are over 4 million families that are impacted by an avoidable workplace accident annually. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that they take every precaution to keep their employees safe.
Is your construction or engineering company taking the extra step to keep your employees safe? What precautions are you currently implementing?
Andrew Miller is an avid legal blogger and manager of over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of David Resnick & Associates : A construction injury lawyer located in New York City.