According to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers killed on the job as a result of slips, trips, and falls rose in 2014 by nearly ten percent.
Here are some the key findings:
- The number of fatal work injuries in private goods-producing industries in 2014 was 9 percent higher than the revised 2013 count but slightly lower in private service-providing industries. Fatal injuries were higher in mining (up 17 percent), agriculture (up 14 percent), manufacturing (up 9 percent), and construction (up 6 percent). Fatal work injuries for government workers were lower (down 12 percent).
- Falls, slips, and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013. This was driven largely by an increase in falls to a lower level to 647 in 2014 from 595 in 2013.
- Fatal work injuries involving workers 55 years of age and over rose 9 percent to 1,621 in 2014 up from 1,490 in 2013. The preliminary 2014 count for workers 55 and over is the highest total ever reported.
- After a sharp decline in 2013, fatal work injuries among self-employed workers increased 10 percent in 2014 from 950 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2014.
- Women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than in 2013. Even with this increase, women accounted for only 8 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in 2014.
- Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers were lower in 2014, while fatal injuries among non-Hispanic white, black or African-American, and Asian workers were all higher.
- In 2014, 797 decedents were identified as contracted workers, 6 percent higher than the 749 fatally-injured contracted workers reported in 2013. Workers who were contracted at the time of their fatal injury accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injury cases in 2014.
So, we know that workplace fatalities are on the rise? What does this mean for your business? It means that now is the time for you to get your workplace-safety house in order. You are (god forbid) one fatality, serious injury, employee complaint, or planned investigation away from an visit from your friendly neighborhood OSHA investigator.
Do you want to know what your safety programs look like before OSHA shows up at your door? Do you want the comfort of knowing that your OSHA logs and safety training material are in order, and that your safety low-hanging fruit (guarding, lock-out/tag-out, fall protection, PPE, etc.) is handled?
If so, consider the current time (when OSHA is not in your facility) as borrowed time. Use this borrow time wisely to audit all of your safety practices. It could mean a difference of tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in fines. Time and money well spent, if you ask me.