While workplace injury rates have improved in recent years, many businesses are still struggling to protect their employees. Approximately 2.9 million American workers sustained injuries or contracted illnesses on the job in 2016, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In short, there is room for improvement. Firms looking to close the gap should consider embracing incident management strategies and tools.
The diversity of modern work environments means that while the majority of the workforce spends its days in a building, it is equally likely others work in the great outdoors. And while the latter work hazards may differ greatly from those encountered inside, companies still need to make sure that their occupational safety protocols are compliant with federal regulations.
The end of a year is a time for companies to reflect, review and, inevitably, make business-orientated resolutions for the next 12 months. Irrespective of the size of an organization, the roadmap for 2018 will have been planned, with the expectation being that stated goals will not only be achieved before the end of 2018, but also contribute to a healthy bottom line.
Representatives from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration recently announced the top 10 workplace safety violations for 2017. The agency personnel publicized the information during the National Safety Council Congress and Expo, as has become custom. Patrick Kapust, deputy director for the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs, led the announcement and offered some historical context to the new data set, Safety and Health Magazine reported.
In October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released the list of the 10 most common safety citations issued in 2017. Fall protection once again topped the list, accounting for approximately 6,072 violations.
Construction workers face numerous physical hazards when navigating worksites. From multistory structures and moisture-slicked surfaces to overbearing power tools and large-scale industrial vehicles, builders encounter all manner of danger. While many employees in the industry manage to avoid sustaining injuries on the job, a significant number fall victim to various worksite hazards. In 2015, more than 930 workers were injured on construction sites, constituting approximately 21 percent of the all workplace injuries recorded that year, according to research from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. While many of these builders succumb to some of the traditional dangers mentioned above, others visited hospitals due to an under-the-radar yet equally debilitating threat: respirable crystalline silica.
Businesses embarking on environmental health and safety improvement activities sometimes balk at the notion of implementing new backend tools, such as compliance auditing software, that catalyze EHS growth. Installation can require considerable time and corporate resources. In the end, EHS stakeholders are reluctant to commit to these expenditures in fear of implementing solutions that generate paltry return on investment. However, powerful, well-tested compliance auditing solutions like the one we produce at ProcessMAP can reliably deliver optimal ROI, ultimately paying for themselves not long after the implementation process has concluded. How?
However, fine amounts have risen significantly over the same period. Now, those who receive serious violations incur penalties of $12,675 per safety infraction, while willful or repeat offenders - more than 6 percent of all violators recorded in 2016 - must pay fines of $126,749 per violation. In short, while many organizations are improving their health and safety protocols and allocating more resources toward compliance, they are likely to pay hefty penalties for the smallest of miscues.
A comprehensive EHS platform can also restructure once-manual safety procedures and contribute to the company’s digital transformation efforts.
The numbers are staggering: In 2016, nearly 3 million people suffered an employer-reported illness or injury in the private sector and more than half required days away from work, job transfers, or restrictions on ability to work, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the bureau, based on rates of injuries, the most injury-prone sectors are animal production, nursing and residential care facilities, couriers and messengers, wood product manufacturing, and air transportation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released best practice guidelines for health and safety management in the construction industry—its first such update in nearly 30 years.
While the announcement doesn't contain any changes in legislation, it does provide important and useful insights safety managers can absorb and disseminate throughout their workplaces.