Workers' Memorial Day is celebrated every year on April 28th. The day honors those who have been fatally injured on the job and invites discussion about safety concerns in the workplaces of America. Environment Health Safety Today marked the 2018 memorial by reporting on the National Safety Council's six most dangerous workplace hazards in the United States.
By learning more about these risks and how they can be safely addressed, both workers and employers can play a role in reducing workplace accidents year around.
The Most Fatal Dangers to Workers in the United States
The most common fatal event for United States workers in 2016 was traffic accidents. While this is a particular hazard for those employed in the transportation industry (such as commercial truck drivers or bike delivery messengers), it can affect any employee who uses the road while on the job. Simple job-related errands can lead to crashes that fatally injure drivers and passengers. In order to effectively mitigate this risk, employees must be careful to avoid distractions while the they are driving on the job.
It can be difficult to ignore calls or texts from an employer, but it is vitally important not to be distracted from the road. Employers can promote these safe habits by enforcing workplace policies of avoiding distracted driving. By fostering a company culture of safe driving habits, employers can reduce the likelihood that their employees will engage in distracted driving while on the job.
An emerging safety problem in the United States is an aging American workforce. Not only are baby boomers aging, but many are delaying retirement and staying in the workforce longer. The inevitable effects of aging - such as diminished sight and hearing, or slower reflexes - can increase the risk of experiencing a workplace accident. The National Safety Council reports that fatal accidents among workers aged 55 and older increased nearly 10 percent between 2015 and 2016. Even when injuries are not fatal, older workers can have greater difficulty recovering from them. This, too, is simply a natural consequence of the aging process. Employers can address these risks by implementing worker safety training and protocols.
Sadly, workplace violence is also on the rise. Homicides in the workplace increased nearly 20 percent between 2015 and 2016. Employers must carefully consider the violence that their workers might face. The nature of a business or geographic location of a work site might contribute to increase rates of violence. Effective training programs and safety policies can reduce the risk of such events occurring and help employees safely react when workplace violence does occur. Fast and easy access to law enforcement is critical in time-sensitive situations of workplace violence.
Employees have the right to a safe working environment. When accidents, violence, or other factors lead to a workplace injury, employers can be held liable for the injuries and losses which occur as a result. Our Philadelphia workplace accident attorneys have helped many injured workers access compensation for their financial losses and help deter employers from negligently allowing their employees to work in dangerous conditions.