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The Deadly Workplace - An overview of the AFL-CIO's 2013 Death on the Job Report

safety sunglassesThe AFL-CIO's "2013 Death on the Job Report" has been officially released this week. While the contents are quite alarming, the overall number of workplace fatalities in the United States has been reduced by over 50% since the early 70's. The decrease in the actual number of deaths suggests a significant amount of success due to workplace safety measures, training and regulations. However, there's much more to evaluate before a definite answer is given to the burning question of "Is America a safer place to work than it was 40 years ago?"
 
There is no simple answer to the question, as there is no universal definition of what actually makes the workplace "safer". For example, industries have fluctuated over the years and new products and manufacturing processes have been introduced. Certain job duties have become automated, while other positions require the increased exposure to dangerous chemicals, materials and compounds. Depending how far into the details you decided to dig, you could technically consider the increase of break-room soda machines since 1970 to be an increased risk to poor health. Nonetheless, there are all sorts of different factors to consider that contribute to a safer workplace. Awareness, a commitment to safety & health, and the education of employees & co-workers is paramount to maintaining a safe working environment while reducing the overall risks associated with performing ones job duties.
 
The 2013 Death on the Job Report contains a plethora of valuable information and statistics that can be utilized to help create an effective plan for workplace safety. The report contains several sub-sections with data that has been compiled over the years. This data can be used both directly and indirectly to identify the dangers that pose the largest risk in your workplace; making it easier than ever to evaluate working conditions and determine if additional measures can be taken to address and reduce those risks.
 
We encourage you to read the report and educate yourself on the most common dangers within your industry, then spread that knowledge to create awareness while practicing caution on a day to day basis. We devote a substantial amount of time to our jobs in an effort to survive and succeed, therefore, failure to educate ourselves on workplace risks is actually counter-productive to our goals. Strategic planning and proper execution of your job duties increases your likelihood of safety and success in the workplace, just as strategic planning and proper execution of your day to day lifestyle increases your likelihood of safety and success in society. Use your head, be safe at work and stay informed.
 
In an effort to promote the use of the AFL-CIO's report and to help create interest in workplace safety, we've done a bit of research and provided some interesting facts based on their data. We hope the information below entices you to look further into the figures for your individual job sector and share your findings in the workplace.
 
Which job sectors pose the largest general safety threat, or, which job sector could be considered "most fatal"?

Mining, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and hunting fall into the most dangerous combined category as of 2007 at 27.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation and warehousing come in second, yet with a substantially lower number of 16.9 fatalities per 100,000. Educational and health services rank as the least dangerous sector of employment with less than one (0.7) death per 100,000 workers.
 

Which industry has the largest number of fatalities?

Although the occupations listed above hold the highest risk and yield the most fatalities per 100,000 workers, there are fewer overall individuals who actually work in those industries as compared to others. Therefore, a higher number of deaths could accrue in a different sector for no other reason aside from the occupation being more common. In 2011, the industry with the largest actual number of overall fatalities was transportation and warehousing where a total of 749 deaths on the job were recorded.
 
Out of the most dangerous sectors, which individual occupations are the most deadly?

The top ten specific occupations with the highest individual fatality rates (per 100,000) are as follows:
 

  • • Fishers & Fishing Related Work - 127.3 deaths
  • • Logging & Forestry - 104 deaths
  • • Aircraft Pilots & Flight Engineers - 56.1 deaths
  • • Garbage, Recycling & Material Collection - 36.4 deaths
  • • Roofing - 34.1 deaths
  • • Structural Iron & Steel Workers - 30.3 deaths
  • • Farmers, Ranchers, and other Agricultural Managers - 26.1 deaths
  • • Driver/sales & Truck Drivers - 24.5 deaths
  • • Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs - 19.7 deaths
  • • Powerline Inst. & Repair - 19.5 deaths

 
Fact: Overall, males are 12 times more likely to die on the job than females. However, there are certain exceptions by sector and according to the cause of death. Women are slightly more likely to die in roadway accidents and more than twice as likely to die from homicide in their workplace. Read More Here...
 
Fact: Firefighters are the most likely to suffer from non-fatal work related injury and illnesses with 13.5% of firefighters being injured or ill due to job duties in 2011.
 
Fact: Ice Manufacturing is the 4th most risky industry for non-fatal injuries or illnesses, with 11.9% of workers suffering work related injury or illness in 2011.
 
Fact: In 2011, there were 23,210 instances of workplace violence that led to injuries involving days away from work. The most common and likely victim of workplace violence is women who work in nursing/psychiatric/health sustaining injuries from patients.
 
While some of the statistics are surprising, others are to be expected due to the dangers associated with certain occupations. Instead of focusing your energy on whether or not America is a safer place to work than it was in 1970, ask yourself "Is my job a safe place to work?" If this approach was the status-quo, we could reduce work related fatalities by a large number. If you're an employee in a risky environment, don't wait for a supervisor to hand out safety documents or offer training - they may or may not. Instead, inquire! If you're an employer, do the right thing. Respect your workers right to safety, they are what makes your business.
 
Take a look for yourself and see where your job ranks among the rest, as The AFL-CIO's Death on the Job Report contains a whole list of documents in .pdf format for your immediate use and reference. Data is broken down by industry, sector, injury, sex, race, age, birthplace, and more. Please take advantage of their hard work and Read the Full Report Here.

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