Workplace Safety

Workplace Injuries Rise When Companies Under Financial Pressure

* At a steel mill located in Seguin, Texas, a worker suffered burns to an area greater than 60% of his body after molten steel splashed onto him. He tragically died in a hospital three days after the accident.

* A 21-years old plastics worker was hospitalized for severe burns to his hand. He eventually had four fingers removed after he had an injury on his first day of work at a manufacturing facility in Elyria, Ohio.

* 400 employees at a factory in La Porte, Texas were killed after a toxic chemical was released due to a broken network of pipelines in the workplace.

These three examples are a few of many workplace injuries and even fatalities that have recently occurred. The question that crops up in these situations is whether companies sacrificed safety in exchange for profits.

The Journal of Accountancy and Economics recently released a study on this topic. In the research, they tested whether there was a connection between safety in the workplace and corporate management’s efforts to meet profit goals. To perform the study, researchers used workplace injury information gathered by the Occupational Security and Health Administration (OSHA) in the years from 2002-2011. They matched safety information to the reported earnings information. The study included a sample size of 35,350 findings for 868 companies. (Financial services companies and other companies in regulated sectors were excluded.) The study focused on businesses that barely met their goals and found that there were greater workplace injuries in these businesses in particular.

The study’s findings were notable. Injury and illness rates for these firms are 5-15% higher than firms meeting or exceeding their forecasts.

The study found that increased stress to meet profit projections could be associated with workplace safety in two primary ways:

* Larger workloads per worker.

* Cost cutting, particularly around safety-related activities.

When managers think their business is close to missing financial targets, they try to boost productivity by pressuring workers into working faster or for extended periods of time. Additionally, workers can harm their own health by being tired or not following safety procedures that slow down the workflow. All of these actions pose a threat to employee safety.

Managers may also cut corners or ignore recommended safety procedures. This includes not following the recommended maintenance on equipment. This can also include cutting employee safety training and monitoring protocols. When managers fail to follow through on these areas, safety in the workplace quickly goes downhill and the risk of injuries increases.

What exactly does this mean for the average worker though? According to the workplace injury information gathered from OSHA, the ratio of injured worker to total workers is 1:27 in companies that meet or exceed financial goals. For firms that miss their targets, the ratio is 1:24.

Some surprising statistics were revealed as a part of the study.

Companies with unions tended to have lower levels of injuries than those without unions. It is believed this is due to unions negotiating mandatory protections for employees. It is also believed unionized employees have ways to report safety problems to union reps without fear of reprisal.

Companies located in states with high Worker’s Compensation premiums tend to have fewer injuries than those in states with relatively low rates. It is believed companies in high-cost states put a premium on safety to help keep their Workmans’ comp costs as low as possible.

Companies that perform a lot of work for State or Federal governments tend to perform better than those who strictly work in the private sector. This is believed to be a result of state and federal pass-through safety mandates that are often not present in private contracts.

As OSHA only collects information related to serious physical injuries, the report authors believe the information may represent the “tip of the iceberg”. The belief is that if the culture prizes profits at all costs over worker safety, the company may indeed face future additional financial pressures.

When managers and employees forget safety in the work environment and instead focus on short-term business targets, the results can extreme. At the business level, the costs of forgoing safety include penalties, lawsuits, expensive insurance rate increases, costly settlements, and negative press that can damage the business reputation. For employees, the cost may be higher and include injury, loss of wages, or, in the worst case scenario, their death.

If your business is under financial pressure, be sure to reach out to us on ways you can ensure you’re meeting safety requirements. We’ll help you evaluate your risk exposure and we’ll make sure you have the right insurance products for your budget.

Your workers will feel better knowing you place their safety first. That positive feeling can create productivity dividends of its own.

Ten of the Most Common Safety Violations

Although OSHA releases their top 10 most mentioned workplace safety incidents yearly, they don’t change significantly with each new list. If you take note of the workplace statistics, you may feel a little overwhelmed at the information.

Taking a firm but simple approach to workplace safety is best and recommended by the deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs.

He recommends leveraging the top 10 list as a way to compare against your workplace environment. Would these hazards be present in your work environment? Using this list to get started is a good way to determine if you have hazards in the office.

1. Fall Protection

The total violations for this in 2016 was 6,906. This means that employees who are on surfaces either horizontal or vertical and were not provided with the appropriate protections against falls. Examples of these violations include unprotected sides or edges. steep roofs, holes, and skylights. All of these areas can cause injury if proper precautions are not in place.

2. Hazard Communication

This safety concern deals with chemical hazards. Either chemicals that are produced in the workplace or ones that are brought into the workplace. Citations in this area include not having a hazard program in place and training in the workplace on how to handle chemical materials that could be hazardous to health.

3. Scaffolding

Scaffolding has to be designed by qualified individuals and constructed according to those designs. Employers are required to protect workers from falls and falling objects while working on scaffolding. This means having a guardrail system in place or other protections to keep workers from falling through scaffolding. This caused a total of 3,900 violations in 2016.

4. Respiratory Protection

This violation deals with ensuring employers have a respiratory protection program in place. This means ensuring that the workplace has appropriate respiratory protection standards in place as needed. Fit testing for respirators and medical evaluations for respiratory health are some of the key areas to maintaining adequate protection.

5. Lockout/Tagout

Electricity can be hazardous if not handled properly and lockout/tag out procedures for the servicing and maintenance of equipment are important to have and maintain in the workplace. Having general procedures and a general control program were two of the most common violations in this category.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks

Surprisingly, this standard in the workplace is actually 6th on the list and deals with the maintenance and operation of industrial trucks. Workplaces that have forklifts and hand trucks need to ensure safety standards in this area. This means having safe operation and certification standards for employees. Training is also essential in this area as well as ensuring that trucks are repaired and maintained on a regular basis.

7. Ladders

Just like its name suggests, this standard has to do with any safety concern involving ladders and caused 2,665 violations in 2016. Portable ladder access was one of the top areas cited. Ladders are often not used for the purpose that they were designed for and ladders are frequently used with structural defects. Keeping ladder safety as a priority in the workplace is a key to avoiding this hazard.

8. Machine Guarding

This standard involves guarding of machinery to protect its operators as well as any other employees from hazards including rotating parts, sparks, and any other dangers possible during its operation. Machine guarding should be in place during its operation. Other primary concerns for machine guarding include anchoring any fixed machinery and guarding any blades, especially ones that are close to the ground.

9. Electrical-Wiring Methods

This standard means any violations related to improper electrical or wiring methods including grounding electrical equipment, ensuring appropriate wiring and insulation are in place. Protecting wiring from exposure is a key violation to avoid and can be a fire hazard as well as an employee hazard.

10. Electrical-General Requirements

This area is also designed for electrical hazards but is focused on the general safety requirements involved with designing electrical systems. Installation and use of systems are the top violations in this category. Guarding any live parts and keeping the space around electrical equipment free of potential hazards are also components of this category.

As you evaluate various workplace risks, be sure to reach out to us for suggestions on how to keep your Workmans Comp rates as low as possible… remember we’re here to help!

Workplace Safety Principles You Can Count On

As a leading manufacturer Boeing offers a great example of putting workplace safety into practice. And Boeing has come a long way from the early days of ergonomics.

Boeing has a security vision that is rooted in their company culture. The company has core beliefs for their product safety and security. Boeing has an office safety initiative, “Go for no– One day at a time”. It has four primary concepts used to structure everything done.

The primary priority is human life and health, taking action to promote these goals. In addition to efforts designed for safety in the workplace, Boeing also puts an emphasis on health beyond preventing workplace injury. Often a workers’ safety and security can be maximized by decreasing stress and improving health through a balanced lifestyle. Boeing was named one of the “Finest Companies for Healthy Lifestyles” and they’ve taken steps to improve the general wellness of their workers.

All injuries in the work environment are preventable. Boeing tries to use its design and processes to lower the security and safety threats for their workers, especially the ones that work in production. One of the best programs that makes use of this principle is the Boeing location in South Carolina. It has the engineers work as manufacturing specialists to help them recognize and make improvements to each job. With this practical experience, engineering groups have been able to develop tailored ergonomic devices and improve job processes by eliminating potential hazards.

Each employee is made responsible for their own personal safety and also in charge of each other’s safety. Boeing encourages each staff member to take charge of their safety and to watch out for their teammates. Some workers model this principle very well, including examination specialist Roger Grenier. He’s become known for his dedication to maintaining safety. In just a single year of work, Roger worked to notice hundreds of safety concerns as well as point out improvements that were used to keep the workplace safe and eliminate any hazards. Because of his excellent work and dedication in this area, Roger was recognized as Boeing’s first “Safety Champion” in 2016.

By making safety a top priority, Boeing also found that it was able to meet goals for producing top quality materials as a normal part of daily activities. Making large planes and jets to fit client’s needs requires a full-time commitment to safety, quality, and performance. On the assembly line used to make 777 jetliners, a team of designers and manufacturing mechanics created a new option for moving the heavy power panels. In the past, moving and installing the panels had been linked to worker injuries. Using a rail system to move heavy loans in a tight space, this change significantly lowered the risk of injury while also boosting productivity at the same time.

Through safety workshops, groups develop lists of reasons why Boeing has not been able to reach its zero-injury goal. They write down the details of why each injury occurred. Then, they establish methods for the company to be free of injuries in the future. Each time the list grows shorter because of the value that’s placed on decreasing injuries.

Worker safety is best considered as a challenge to innovation. Changes that Boeing is implementing today, including automation, will have a significant impact in the coming years.

Remember that Boeing is a for profit corporation. It answers to shareholders. Safety efforts must comply with the law and be implemented in a way that positively impacts the bottom line. Boeing has recognized that safety always results in decreased costs and increased productivity.

So as you contemplate safety for your own organization, take a little time to reflect on what has worked so well for Boeing and see if you can implement some of these principles in your company.

What to Know About Safety & Legalized Pot

Because cannabis legalization is expanding across the United States, many companies are concerned about how to go about drug testing their employees. They are also quite concerned about workplace safety. (As you may know, cannabis or “pot” is legal in some form or another in 28 states as well as our capital, Washington DC.)

Each state’s laws regarding marijuana legalization are different, making it difficult for companies to know how to manage their employees when it comes to marijuana usage by employees and location.

(This can be especially tricky if a company has workers split between multiple states where some states offer legalization and others don’t. For example, Idaho does not offer pot legalization but is bordered by 3 states that allow legalization in some form or another.)

To help give guidance, here are some steps to leverage in order to keep the work environment accident free with the changing tide in pot regulations.

First, it is important to understand that public opinion towards marijuana has shifted in recent years. Today, approximately 60% of the population supports the legalization of cannabis. While this change may be thought of as coming from younger adults, the change in attitudes is actually most significant in the population age 55 and older. A current study found that in medical areas where marijuana was proven to be beneficial, Medicare enrollees were significant users of marijuana.

So what can companies do though if they have employees that use cannabis?

Of course, safety is a primary concern for these companies. It is important that companies concentrate on the efficiency of their employees in addition to increased scrutiny on training and hiring processes. (This is really no different than how alcohol is treated in the work environment.)

These four extra steps can help ensure a safe environment:

1. Review job descriptions and determine what each job requires. Would an employee who uses cannabis in non-working hours influence that person’s capability to perform essential job duties?

2. Train managers how to identify impairment caused by marijuana use in the workplace. Review signs and symptoms of a person who has used cannabis.

3. Determine if drug screening is a good fit for your business. If it is, determine how to best do it with your employees. For example at their time of hire or additionally throughout the worker’s employment.

4. Consider the impact medicinal marijuana may have on policies. For example, where pot use is truly necessary for a given worker’s medical needs rather than being a recreational choice.

Closing thoughts:

Research regarding marijuana usage indicates that the impacts of marijuana on a person’s ability to function changes drastically from user to user in addition to the type of work being done.

Of note, fewer than a third of studies found a relationship between marijuana use and reduced function.

For a complete understanding of how employee pot use may impact your safety risk profile, be sure to reach out to us for guidance. We’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.

Protect Against Excavation & Trench Hazards

According to the American Federation of State, County as well as Community Staff members, one of the typical hazards associated with excavation or trenching job is cave-ins. Individuals bearing the highest risk of getting seized in a collapse include but not limited to:

a) Workers who repair utility lines like sewer, water, and others

b) Roadway building contractors and also

c) People who actively participate in digging.

Statistics by the American Federation Of State, County And Municipal Employees (AFSCME) indicate that slides or collapses during excavation can be instigated mainly by the following factors:

· The heavy weight of the excavation equipment especially if positioned near to the margin of a trench

· Loose soil culminating from construction equipment vibration and traffic in the construction location.

· Water accessing the construction site or the excavation location. This compromises the strength of trench peripheral and as a result a slide might occur.

· Loose soil that weakens the walls of the trench or construction and may end up collapsing.

Before performing any excavation or trenching activity, it’s always prudent to seek an expert to examine possible risks prior to commencement of the activity and also during the procedure till the process is complete. The operation ought to be regularly monitored in order to ensure that all possible hazards are kept on check.

On the other hand, protective measures have to be taken for any form of excavation or trench that happens to be deeper than 5′. However, digging operations that are fewer than 5′ deep might also require a safety system in case the professional onsite discerns a potential cave-in.

Below are some safety systems that are recommended in order to mitigate excavation and construction site hazards:


This system comprises of wales, cross-braces as well as uprights and needs to be installed from the top down as well as removed from all-time low up. It supports the wall surfaces of the excavation hence reducing the likelihood of a potential slide.


This system ensures the sides of the hole open out from the base of the excavation. This kind of soil management moves out an appropriate angle from the base (depending on the soil) to help prevent any probable collapse.


This system comprises of trench guards or trench boxes that are put in the digging site to prevent the trench walls from failing. The person is safeguarded while in the box. Some boxes can be moved as work progresses. All shields must protrude a minimum of 18 inches from the top of the trench slope.


The benching system a lot like sloping. However steps are cut into the sides of the trench. It’s important to note that if you are digging more than 20′ deep you’ll need a registered engineer to authorize your solution.

Dealing With Risk Exposure

As a contractor you face many different kinds of risk exposure. It’s important to have comprehensive protection to be sure profits are preserved and that your company isn’t put at risk as a result of a catastrophic claim. Please reach out to us for cost-effective ideas on how to leverage and maximize insurance to limit exposure.

Keeping Workers Safe From Fire Risk

Although most areas of the country have excellent fire departments, fires are still responsible for huge losses of jobs and lives. The most recent National Fire Defense Record (NFPA) record released in 2015 stated that there were more than 3000 civilian deaths and more than 15,000 fire injuries that took place in the United States. The costs associated with fires are more than $14.3 billion in home damage alone. The losses caused by fire affect not only personal homes and property, but also have an effect on work environments and businesses.

And while fire affects many businesses, it has a substantial impact on both small and medium-sized businesses who have fewer financial resources. These businesses are usually housed in a single location and, in the case of a fire, may not be able to continue their work. The key to preventing a loss of business is prevention and it’s every business’s job to keep the workplace safe from any potential fire threats. Fortunately, many of the fires that occur today are preventable.

These are just a few of the easy and effective ways to keep your workplace and your workers safe:

1. Keep the Office Clean

Having standards for the state of the workplace is an important step to prevent fire. Make sure to keep work spaces neat as any piles of waste and clutter are easy kindling for a growing fire. Make it a regular habit to get rid of any flammable materials such as wood and cardboard. Worker safety is a key element of prevention here so promote clean habits in the entire office. Make sure also to keep any waste baskets and dumpsters away from areas of heat.

It’s a common habit to destroy waste in an open pit or barrel, thinking that this is a safe way to get rid of waste. However, this is not only a fire hazard, but also illegal in most states. Instead of burning any trash, follow state and government guidelines to get rid of combustible waste safely. Look up the guidelines in the area and keep them posted in the workplace to inform all employees.

2. Watch for Potential Hazards

Potential fire spots are areas to watch out for in the office. There are a few key areas, for example, in the workplace which are specifically prone to fire risks. It’s important to keep an eye on them to prevent problems. For example, the kitchen is the most common place to experience a workplace fire. Coffee makers that have been left on can trigger a fire. Make sure to ask employees to turn off any appliances in the company kitchen before leaving the area. Also keep any flammable items away from appliances to decrease the fire risk.

3. Watch out for Faulty Wiring

Faulty electrical wiring is one of the leading violations according to the Occupational Security and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2016. Make sure that any cables and wires in use are in good condition with no exposed wires. It’s also important to use the appropriate power cable for the work. Substituting cords can be tempting in a pinch but can increase risk.

When using an electrical outlet, prevent any dual adaptor links. Instead, use a power strip with a fuse. Make sure to schedule regular electrical repair and maintenance to prevent any potential hazards. Additionally, it’s important for businesses to test any safety and security buttons roughly every three months. Keep in mind that electrical safety isn’t just based on the electrical system. Any water leaks in the building can also lead to blown circuits, fire, and personal harm. Water is a good conductor of electrical energy and can electrocute anyone in contact. Make sure that there are no water leaks in the workplace.

4. Use and Store Chemicals Securely

Most chemical cleaners and other materials are flammable. Make sure to read the label and security sheet on each container to determine if it is flammable and how best to use the product safely. All chemicals should be labelled correctly and stored based on the instructions. The chemicals should also be kept in secured containers when they are not in sure. Advise employees to only use their chemicals for their intended purpose. For example, ethyl alcohol should not be used to clean the floor or as a hand sanitizer. Provide employees with the appropriate equipment such as gloves and masks as well as any tools for dealing with hazardous chemicals. Clean up any chemical spills promptly and according to directions.

5. Screen Out Risky Workers

Although it’s a good idea to hang “no smoking” signs to let your employees know that smoking is not permitted and carry out regular fire drills, sometimes these steps aren’t enough to make your work environment safe from fire hazards. Each company takes a different approach to maximize workers safety and the safety of the environment. Industrial companies, for example, are starting to screen out potentially dangerous workers in their goal to create a safe and reliable work environment.

In the past few years, there has been a rise in pre-employment alcohol and drug tests. Many of these screening kits are easy for employers to use with potential employees. Make sure to use a kit that has been FDA-approved. These kits are a good way to determine if an employee engages in any risky behaviors which could increase the company’s risk of an accident or fire.

6. Prepare for Emergency Situations

Although using the steps above to prevent a fire is key, some accidents can still occur. It’s important to be prepared in the case of an emergency situation. Conduct regular fire drills a few times a year and also make sure to supply employees with safety training according to both federal and state standards. Make sure to have an assigned meeting point for all employees to account for each person after the drill.

Employee training is just one step of this process though. Make sure that emergency phone numbers and any firefighting equipment are accessible and understood by employees. Keep the fire extinguishers up to date and in good working condition. Make sure that each employee understands the building’s evacuation strategy from their initial start at the company. A public address system is also a good idea and can be used to inform personnel in case of an emergency. The emergency exits should be marked and easy to reach. Finally, local fire departments are great resources for local businesses. They can provide valuable information on how to react in a fire and also if the building has done an adequate job of preparing for a fire.

Final Thoughts

Workplace fire accidents are known for their catastrophic loss of human life as well as equipment and materials. When it comes to safety and security, prevention is the key. From focusing on simple steps like cleaning to building an evacuation plan, these basic safety tips will help to keep your workplace security. Keeping workers safe is an important part of managing risk to keep your Worker’s Compensation insurance premiums low. If you need help evaluating your risk profile be sure to reach out to us.

Why Having an Ergonomic Chair Matters

Consider your work chair. Is it comfortable and also supportive? Do you feel healthy being in it? Is it steady?

If you responded to “no” to any of these questions, you could need a new chair– one that is ergonomically correct. But it is essential for your company and you to do the research initially. “There are lots of ergonomic chairs available, however it can be a blunder to purchase one simply since it is labeled ‘ergonomic,’”

Some ergonomic chairs are more expensive than others but what matters is that the chair fits the person. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health & Safety, a chair ends up being ergonomic only when it:

  • Particularly suits an employee’s dimensions,
  • Their desk, and
  • What work they do there.

The ideal chair is flexible:

  • Can the seat height be adjusted? It’s really important that a seat elevates an employee to the correct height.
  • Is the backrest adjustable? It needs to have the ability to be changed both vertically as well as in frontward and also backward directions. In addition, the chair should have a company lumbar support.
  • Does the chair have a seat deepness appropriate for the worker?
  • Is the chair stable? Having a chair with a five-point base is best.

Finding a chair that fits:

Office workers spend the bulk of their time sitting… and sitting incorrectly can lead to injuries. So to have a great chair that fits, take these variables into consideration:

  • Understand that chair won’t always help every worker.
  • Make sure the chair seat elevation is 1/4th the worker’s elevation, but also make sure it fits the employee’s leg-to-torso ratio.
  • The same chair is not always ideal for all activities. Be prepared to have different types of chair in your environment that are task and worker specific.
  • Some are surprised to learn that chairs require maintenance. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for what possible issues may arise.
  • Be sure to allow users an opportunity to try and compare chairs. After all, they will be the ones using the chairs on a daily basis.

It may surprise you, but many workers’s compensation claims are related to poor ergonomics.

Millions of workers suffer work-related musculoskeletal disorders each year. Hundreds of thousands miss work as a result. Shockingly $1 of every $3 spent on worker’s comp claims is from inadequate ergonomic protection. Total annual costs for these types of claims exceed $45 billion each year.

The best “cure” for these situations is simple prevention. An investment in ergonomic chairs is far better than the claims that could result from poor seating for your workforce.

Have questions about ergonomics and their impact on worker’s comp claims? Be sure to reach out to your worker’s compensation insurance professional for answers!

“Shocking” Electrical Risks Lurk in Offices

When one thinks of places to run into electrical hazards, the office isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Injury from falls is certainly #1 on the list of risks. #2 comes from lifting heavy object.

Certainly folks that deal directly with electricity are far more likely to suffer potential injury. 20% of all electrical injuries (shocks & burns) occur with Electricians and apprentices. Meanwhile 12% of all electrical injuries happen to Mechanics. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35% of all electrical injuries occur to the “other” category of worker that includes folks who work in offices.

In fact OSHA published a guide in 2002 to help understand electrical hazards and how to minimize their risks.

Here are some basic guidelines to help eliminate electrical shocks & burns in the office…

  • Make sure all devices are shut off before leaving the office at the end of the day.
  • It’s best to use devices that are grounded. (They have a 3-prong cord.) Be sure that they are plugged into 3-prong outlets.
  • If a device is giving off an unusual smell… like plastic burning… unplug it right away.
  • Never work with devices that have damaged cords.
  • Be sure that all walkways in the office are free from extension cords.
  • Never use staples or nails to try and position electrical cords.
  • Never plug devices into outlets that have a loose connection.
  • Only use devices that have passed independent screening such as by Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Ensure that there’s a 3’ clearance in front of electrical panels, transformers, etc.
  • Never connect devices to an electrical outlet through a series of electrical extension cords.

Most of these may seem like common sense but they should be incorporated into worker safety training. Not only will they reduce worker injury risks from shocks, they can also help to eliminate potential electrical fire risks as well. And while you are at it, be sure to talk with your insurance professional for other ideas on how to keep your workers safe as well.

Best of 2016: Is Your Industry Among Those with the Most Injuries?

Is Your Industry Among Those with the Most Injuries?

Injuries can occur at any workplace—from minor sprains and strains to life-altering amputations—and happen more frequently than you may imagine. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illness were reported by private industry employers in 2014. Another 722,300 (estimated) employee injuries and illness were reported by state and local government employers.

While illnesses and injuries on the job can happen in any industry, those with the highest percentage are local government transportation and warehousing; local government justice, public order and safety; state government healthcare and social assistance; local government construction; and local government trade, transportation and utilities. Within these industries, between 2.7 and 4 percent of employees suffered an injury or illness in 2014.

Employees in private industries fared better. Most of the industries with the lowest percentage of reported injuries and illness were in the private sector. They include professional, scientific and technical services reporting (with the lowest injury and illness rate of any industry, private or government); management, financing, professional services; and state government educational services. Within these industries only 0.25 to 0.6 percent of employees suffered a reported injury or illness in 2014.

Of course, some injuries and illnesses are more serious than others, requiring employees to spend more time away from the job while they recover. Some industries with average illness and injury rates are still more heavily impacted by these events than those with higher rates because of the recovery time associated with the injuries their employees sustain.

The BLS data show that the top five industries in terms of days away from the workplace are mining (with an average of 31 recovery days per incident); local government transportation and warehousing (21); private sector transportation and warehousing (20); local government trade, transportation and utilities (16); and state government justice, public order and safety (14).

Industries in which reported illnesses and injuries require employees to spend the fewest days away from the workplace while recovering are educational services (5 days on average); accommodation and food services (6); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (6); education and health services (6); and healthcare and social assistance (6).

The age of employees who suffer workplace illnesses and injuries appears to have an effect on the number of days they need to recover away from the job—regardless of industry. While the data shows injured workers between the ages of 20 and 24 spend an average of 5 days recovering, that number jumps to 6 days for workers between the ages of 25 and 34, and then skyrockets to 10 days for workers who are 35 to 44. Injured employees between the ages of 45 and 54 need an average of 12 days away from their job, while those 65 and older need the most time—17 days on average.

By now you’re probably wondering which workplace injuries and illnesses are most common. The BLS keeps track of that as well. For 2014, their data shows that sprains, strains and tears top the charts, followed by musculoskeletal disorders (including tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome), soreness and pain, bruises and contusions, cuts and lacerations, and fractures.

What events are most likely to cause these injuries and illnesses? Overexertion and bodily reactions are the major contributor, followed by falls, slips and trips; contact with object or equipment; violence and other injuries by person or animal; transportation incidents; exposure to harmful substances and environments; and fires and explosions.

Regardless of your industry, it’s your responsibility to provide your employees with a safe workplace and do what you can to reduce their chances of sustaining a work-related injury or illness. A comprehensive safety program—including regular, consistent jobsite training—is essential, as is a period review to ensure your program is adequately addressing developing issues.

Want to Save Time & Money? Choose Other Chemicals to Improve Workplace Safety

Want to Save Time & Money? Choose Other Chemicals to Improve Workplace Safety

U.S. laborers put thousands of chemicals to work each day, many potentially harmful, but only a handful that are regulated in the workplace.

If your enterprise leverages chemicals, it is important to think beyond OSHA minimum standards. Transitioning to safer, less toxic chemicals is critically important… presently workers suffer in excess of 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths each year due to chemical exposures. What kinds of illnesses? Well cancer to start. But there are a myriad of other illnesses that affect the entire body: from lungs & kidneys to the central nervous & reproductive systems.

The reality is that switching to safer chemicals can be a tough process and finding safer alternatives can be a daunting task. It can sometimes be difficult to think about starting the process let alone actually pursuing it in detail. However, the potential benefits far exceed what time you might invest in the process. In addition to feeling better about protecting your workers you can:

  • Create cost savings by reducing expenses and risk exposure.
  • Create greater efficiency through better performance.
  • Increase your competitiveness through innovative application of less toxic chemicals.
  • Improve your brand positioning by promoting socially responsible practices.

To help OSHA has created a systematic toolkit to help employers and workers with selecting and implementing substitute chemicals in the workplace. Designed for all business types from manufacturing & construction to service-oriented companies such as janitorial companies and auto body repair shops, the toolkit will empower you to create a safer workplace that will benefit both your bottom line and your employee’s state of mind. (We all want to feel like our employer cares about us.)

And as always, remember that your business insurance professional also understands how to mitigate risk and help you with maximizing workplace safety initiatives… so be sure to reach out if you have questions or need a bit of deeper advice on how to strengthen your company while protecting your workforce.

Working together with your insurance professional and armed with information offered by OSHA you can keep your workforce safe, reduce the costs and risks associated with chemical related injury and create a more competitive enterprise in the process…

To get started, you can access the toolkit here:

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