US National Safety Council Report a 57% increase in workplace ‘accidents’
Preventable injuries, commonly known as 'accidents', claimed 136,053 lives in 2014 – a 57 percent increase since 1992, when deaths from preventable injuries were as low as they had been in 68 years. Preventable injuries are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease.
In many industrial settings, employees find them selves torn between compliance with safety rules and the support of production quotas and targets for the business. With 65% of companies that want to comply still collecting data on excel sheets the development of and the provision of health and safety standards is difficult for some companies to deliver. They are caught in a catch 22. They are collecting the data, slowly, and have no practical or quick way to analyse the ‘near misses’ to build a preventative action plan.
When the list of top seven accidents is reviewed the striking thing is how simple they are to fix and how they should be manageable by the smallest and largest companies alike:
1. Working at Height
2. Poor Housekeeping: clutter, unchecked or machinery, blocked exits
3. Electrical extension cords: basic misuse and wiring
4. Forklifts: production demands leading to mistakes
5. Failure to implement the permit to work process
6. Chemicals: lack of training and understanding how to work with them and the associated hazards.
7. Working in confined spaces: which is again a failure to issue a permit to work
There are several immediate remedies for all employers and companies. First is to review the OSHA standards that are in place then look at more practical aspects.
What are the personal protective equipment provided, do employees know how and when to us it? Are the correct resources being applied to EHS and what controls are being put in place to each job and individual process?
If the company is collecting safety data on sheets, forms and excel how actionable is it? Is there a software system in place which can provide quick analysis and an action plan?
What culture is in place? Is safety everyones responsibility or is it a chore and task that low in the organisation priority?
Has the safety performance been tied to the wider company goals, the brand value and the mission of the company?