Fatal Injuries on the Rise: It’s Time to Refocus Safety

Workers and manager working with documents

Advancements in technology and automation continue to improve workflow and efficiency across industries, revolutionizing what work looks like for many organizations. As these dynamic systems are applied to new processes in businesses, it’s important that they do not also bring along complacency for safety standards.

A common misconception when adopting and integrating the latest tech in the workplace is that the equipment or software itself will make the workplace safer. However, as the data has shown, injuries in recent years are on the rise, pointing to the fact that the technological upgrades do not provide a safer work environment by themselves. To maintain a safe working environment, it takes a concentrated effort by organizations and their employees to remain vigilant in maintaining a culture of safety.

Recent Spikes in On-The-Job Injuries

2019 saw the largest number of fatal occupational injuries reported in more than a decade, according to  the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the BLS, there were 5,333 occupational fatalities in 2019 alone. To put this figure in perspective, it translates to roughly one employee killed every 99 minutes due to a work-related injury. What these findings indicate is that even though the tools and systems workers use today are more advanced than ever, the work being performed is still dangerous and requires diligence on the part of the employer and employee to reduce fatalities.

This idea is further backed up by digging deeper into the data. For instance, of the total fatalities, a full 16% were caused specifically by a “fall, slip, or trip”, and an additional 8% were caused by being “struck by object or equipment”. More than likely, these categories conjure images in the workplace that employers can use to point to similar occupational incidents that, fortunately, resulted in a non-fatal injury, but by reinforcing the foundations of a culture of safety, it could address nearly 20% of potential fatal on-site injuries.

A Strong Safety Culture Helps Reduce Injuries

An organization’s employees deserve the peace of mind that comes with the expectation that they will be able to return home safely at the end of their shift. While training can provide a fundamental level of safety understanding, establishing a culture of safety in the workplace goes beyond the basics to instill safety into the backbone of the entire organization. It empowers employees and supervisors to think of safety intuitively, and to be proactive in their approach to safety, rather than reactive after an injury or fatality has already happened.

With safety as part of the established workplace culture, not only will employees be more mindful of their work, they’ll feel more confident completing their tasks, knowing that those they work with have the same mentality. Overall, a strong safety culture creates a better working environment for every level of an organization, and encourages work to be completed more efficiently, with fewer safety incidents.

Optimum Safety Management provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Optimum Safety Management can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today, or reach out via phone at 630-759-9908.