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Employee Safety Concerns

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Employee Safety Concerns

May 9, 2018

Workers’ Memorial Day fell on April 28, 2018.  On April 26, The National Safety Council released a list of 6 areas that cause employees to be concerned for their safety.  The NSC hoped that “by drawing attention to these critical areas we can improve employee safety, while remembering those we have lost.”  Below is the list of 6 areas of concern for employees.

  • Driving at Work: A total of 2,083 workplace deaths in 2016 were attributed to transportation-related incidents, making it the most common fatal event for workers that year.  Workplace policies and education can be used to protect workers, organizations and employee families and communities.  To aid in education, the NSC offers a free Safe Driving Kit.  Employers can also join the Road to Zero coalition to show their commitment to increase transportation safety.
  • Older Workers: 2016 saw fatalities of workers age 55 and older increased 9.9% to 1,848 in 2016.  The main factors contributing to this rise are the aging Baby Boomer population remaining in the workforce and injuries for this group often being more serious because of their age.  Employers need to be aware of the potential risks to older workers and take steps to address them.
  • Contract/Temporary Workers: Contract workers accounted for 856 work-related deaths in 2016.  Contract workers are often assigned to higher-risk jobs on work sites with little to no supervision.  To protect this group, employers should include a formal contractor management program in their health and safety plan.
  • Falls: Deaths from slips, trips and falls totaled 849 in 2016.  To be potentially fatal, a fall does not have to be from a high level.  To protect workers, supervisors should first determine if working from a height is necessary.  If it is deemed necessary, proper planning and equipment can keep workers safe.
  • Workplace Violence: Homicides were the cause of more than 500 deaths in the workplace in 2016, a significant rise from 2015.  To combat this, every workplace violence policy to help prepare workers for an event and work to prevent workplace violence from even occurring.  Recognizing the rising levels of workplace violence, the ASSE is currently working on a technical report on active shooters in an effort to increase workplace safety in relation to workplace violence.
  • Drugs & Alcohol: Non-medical drug and alcohol use while on the job caused 217 deaths in 2016.  To help combat this, employers should have a clear policy on drugs and alcohol.  The should also insist on conservative prescribing practices for pain management from in-network health care providers.  In addition, employers can offer employee assistance programs for people struggling with addiction and rehire policies for individuals that complete treatment.

You can find more resources on increase workplace safety by visiting NSC.org.

Resources: “NSC Alerts Employers to 6 Areas of Safety Concern for Employees“, “Active Shooter Technical Report in Development to Improve Workplace Safety