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10 Facts About Workplace Safety

In the U.S., thousands of workers die in the workplace everywhere, and millions experience non-fatal injuries and illnesses. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) monitors safety conditions in the workplace. Enforcing worker safety is not just the right thing to do, it’s required by law. But what does this mean exactly? Here are 10 eye-opening facts about workplace safety.

1. Workplace Danger Continues

Thousands of people die from injuries sustained at work every year. In 2016, the number was 5,190. In 2017, it improved slightly to 5,147. “We have not made a significant improvement,” says Rixio Medina, president of the American Society of Safety Professionals and a vice president at safety consultancy Insight Risk LLC based in Houston. “Too many workers are dying as a result of the injuries that they suffer at work." 

2. Construction is The Most Common OSHA Violation

The most common OSHA violation is fall protection in construction. (29 CFR 1926.501)

3. 17% of Fatal Workplace Injuries Are Fatal Falls

However, the risk of falling should be taken seriously in any work environment. Fatal falls account for 17.2% of fatal workplace injuries, representing a 26-year high, and about a quarter of these falls occur from heights of 10 feet or less.

4. "Falls On The Same Level" Are The Second Leading Cause of Injuries

The truth is, falls at any height are dangerous. The 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index found that “falls on the same level” (e.g., tripping) are the second most common cause of workplace injuries. (The most common they found is overexertion)

5. Non-Compliant Hazard Communication is The Most Common OSHA Violation

The second most common OSHA violation is inadequate or otherwise non-compliant hazard communication in general industry. (29 CFR 1910.1200) In other words, more businesses need to do a better job of communicating with their employees about workplace hazards.

6. Millions of Non-Fatal Accidents Recorded

Non-fatal accidents are also incredibly common. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that private industry employers reported more than 2.6 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2021. Since 2014, there has been a decline in the number of reported non-fatal workplace injuries, which previously recorded nearly 3 million non-fatal injuries.

7. Serious Workplace Injuries Cost U.S. Companies Almost $59.87 Billion Annually

The 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index also reports that the most serious workplace injuries cost U.S. companies almost $59.87 billion annually.

8. Most Injuries or Illnesses Are Under-Reported 

Most workplace injuries and illnesses are under-reported, sometimes significantly so. This under-reporting can have serious consequences for both employees and employers. When injuries and illnesses go unreported, it creates a false sense of safety in the workplace, leading to a lack of proper precautions and preventive measures being implemented. This can result in further accidents and injuries, as well as the potential spread of illnesses among workers.

9. Unexpected Elements of Workplace Safety 

Workplace safety can include aspects you might not normally think about. For example, fatal drug overdoses are happening in the workplace with increasing frequency, with 272 deaths in 2017, an increase of 25.3% from 2016.

10. Exceeding Minimum Requirements Can Reduce Accident Rates

Employers should consider going above and beyond. According to an analysis of The Economics of Workplace Safety, “By spending $750,000 more to exceed the minimum safety and design requirements and reduce the accident rates by 50 percent, the annual projected cost of accidents drops from $140,813 to $70,407.”

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.