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Five-Year View of Workplace Injuries & Fatalities in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of workplace injuries has remained largely unchanged over the last several years (including 2020 data). However, the number of fatal workplace injuries has increased over that same time.

The number of fatal workplace accidents has increased each year since 2016, with theleading cause of death overwhelmingly attributable to motor vehicle accidents: roughly 40% of fatalities throughout that timeframe occurred in transportation incidents. Other leading causes were fall/slips and trips, deaths from being struck by objects or equipment, and exposure to harmful chemicals. In addition to preventable, fatal work injuries, the number of homicides in the workplace jumped almost 20% across that same 5-year span, with non-prescription-drug-related deaths also increasing by 32%.

As it relates to non-fatal workplace injuries, 2020 Workplace Injury Statistics from BLS show:

  • Total number of injuries per 100 full-time workers remained unchanged (year over year) at 2.8.
  • Work injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work = 0.9 per 100 full-time workers.
  • Work injuries and illnesses resulting in job transfers or restrictions = 0.7 per 100 full-time workers.

The proportion of non-fatal injuries falling into the BLS’s five main categories has also remained fairly steady over the past five years. According to BLS statistics, the most-common causes of workplace injuries (from most-common to least common) are:

  • Overexertion and bodily reaction (approximately 33 incidents per 10,000 full-time workers)
  • Falls, slips and trips (approximately 27 incidents per 10,000 full-time workers)
  • Contact with objects or equipment (approximately 24 incidents per 10,000 full-time workers)
  • Violence and other injuries caused by persons or animals (approximately eight incidents per 10,000 full-time workers)
  • Transportation accidents (approximately seven incidents per 10,000 full-time workers)

On its ‘Commonly Used Statistics’ website, OSHA lists the 10 most-frequently cited safety violations on construction sites and in other workplaces. These safety violations are to blame for a significant number of fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries every year:

  • Inadequate fall protection
  • Inadequate hazard communication standards
  • Unsafe scaffolding
  • Failure to control hazardous energy (lockout/tagout violations)
  • Inadequate respiratory protection
  • Unsafe ladders
  • Powered industrial truck safety violations
  • Inadequate fall protection training
  • Unsafe machinery and inadequate machine guarding
  • Inadequate eye and face protection

At Cyanco we have worked hard to identify and eliminate safety hazards that can cause workplace injuries by implementing a rigorous Hazard Recognition Program at our facilities. At the most basic level, hazard recognition is looking at a task or a situation and asking, “Is there anything here that could hurt someone?” Our employees are both trained to recognize on-the-job hazards and are required to perform a mandatory inspection of their work areas before and after shifts to see if any hazards are present. By having this formal process in place, we have been able to minimize risk and better protect our people from workplace incidents.

‍If you’re interested in learning more about Cyanco’s Hazard Recognition Program, please let us know! And feel free to share your own best practices in the comments below. As National Safety Month continues, be sure to visit Cyanco’s blog for tips on preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace, as well as promoting electrical safety on site.

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