In November, our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers discussed the release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities in 2011. The recently released data provided information on the number of workplace accidents, the number of fatalities, the industries most at-risk and the most common causes of worker injury.
The BLS data provides important insight into what worker safety issues need to be addressed and into the greatest risks presented to workers. In order to help improve worker safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur, it is helpful to take a look at some of the most common injury causes and to look at some steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of accident.
Contact with Objects and Equipment: A Serious Risk
According to the BLS table on Fatal occupational injuries by event or exposure in 2011, contact with objects or equipment was the cause of 708 workplace fatalities in 2011. This means that contact with either objects or equipment was responsible for 15 percent of all workplace deaths that happened during the year. Some of the different types of contact included:
- Being struck by some type of equipment or object other than a powered vehicle caused 472 of the 708 deaths arising from equipment/object contact.
- Being struck by a discharged or flying object accounted for 24 of the 708 deaths.
- Being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects was responsible for 147 workplace deaths
- Being caught in running equipment or machinery was the cause of 119 deaths
- Being struck, caught or crushed in a collapsing structure, equipment or material was the cause of 84 deaths.
These statistics show that there are many ways a person can be harmed by machinery or equipment falling on him, compressing him or otherwise injuring him. These types of accidents can occur in any workplace but are especially common on construction sites and in industrial environments.
How to Stay Safe
Although injuries and deaths due to being caught in or crushed by objects are far too common, there are some things that workers and employers can do in order to try to avoid these types of injuries. For example:
- All manufacturer instructions should be followed with any equipment.
- Equipment and machinery should be examined and tested before use to ensure it is in good working order.
- Equipment and machinery should be properly maintained and used only by authorized, trained personnel.
- All OSHA requirements for using and maintaining equipment and machinery should be followed.
- Appropriate warning signs and labels should be posted when equipment and machinery are in use.
- Workers making use of machines or equipment should wear required safety gear and should refrain from wearing loose clothing that could become caught in machinery.
If employers have strict safety guidelines and policies in place and if workers are extra vigilant when machinery or equipment is in use, these efforts can help to reduce the risk of a death or injury due to contact with objects or equipment.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.
Georgia Work Injuries: Government Releases Accident & Illness Stats for 2011, Georgia Workers' Compensation Attorney Blog, November 7, 2012.