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safety statistics

  • How Dangerous is YOUR Job?

    how dangerous is your jobHow dangerous is your job? It's hard to tell exactly as many factors come into play when creating statistics but there's always a pattern that exists. Over recent years, it's clear that some industries and careers tend to be more dangerous than others.
     

    Currently, the average rate of fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers is about 3.5. Respectively, here are the general top 10 occupations with the highest rates of fatality:
     

    • Fishers and related fishing workers: 116.0
    • Logging workers: 91.9
    • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 70.6
    • Farmers and ranchers: 41.4
    • Mining machine operators: 38.7
    • Roofers: 32.4
    • Refuse and recyclable material collectors: 29.8
    • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers: 21.8
    • Industrial machinery installation, repair and maintenance workers: 20.3, and
    • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers: 18.0.
     

    The top industry sectors with fatalities are:
     
    • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: 26.8
    • Mining: 19.8, and
    • Transportation and warehousing: 13.1.
     

    The percentage of worker fatalities by age:
     
    • Under 16: < 0.5%
    • 16-17: < 0.5%
    • 18-19: 1%
    • 20-24: 5%
    • 25-34: 17%
    • 35-44: 19%
    • 45-54: 25%
    • 55-64: 20%, and
    • 65 and older: 12%.
     

    BLS reported there were 4,547 workplace fatalities in 2010. The highest number of fatalities by industry are as follows:
     
    • Trade, transportation and utilities: 1,141
    • Natural resources and mining: 768
    • Construction: 751
    • Professional and business services: 356, and
    • Manufacturing: 320.
     

    Learn more about workplace fatalities at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Website. Stay safe out there and always remember to do things properly - don't take shortcuts that pose a hazard to your (or other's) health or well-being.
     

  • Workplace Safety: Eye Protection & 90% Injury Preventability

    workplace safety eye protectionThere's a lot of talk about workplace safety, but we find that one of the most overlooked aspects of personal protection on job sites is eye protection. Protecting your eyes at work is commonplace for welders and machinists, but there are hundreds of other occupations where eye injury is a real risk that often goes unacknowledged or ignored.
     
    If you're working with any of the following materials or tools, it's critical that you think twice about protecting your eyes:
     
    • Liquid Chemicals
    • Powdered Chemicals
    • Caustic Substances
    • Grinding/Cutting Tools
    • Granular Products or Materials
    • High Heat or Flammable Materials
    • Machines with Small Moving Parts
    • Airborne or Super-Lightweight Materials
    • Solvents and Cleaners
    • Heavy Machinery
    • Falling, Crumbling or Easily Breakable Materials/Products
    • Pressurized Products/Equipment/Materials
    • Sharp Objects or Sharp Moving Parts
    • Fibrous Materials or Products
    • Adhesives
    • Intense Light
     
    While the list may not be complete, it can provide some very real insight into the many ways your eyes can be harmed, by both accidents and/or long-term exposure.
     
    If there's any chance of something splashing, sparking, exploding, slivering, shattering, bursting, or blowing into your eyes, you need to utilize some sort of eye protection. Whether it's googles, safety glasses or a safety shield, it might prevent you from losing your vision or suffering irreversible damage that can be debilitating, painful and costly.
     
    According to the CDC, here are over 2,000 work-related eye injuries each day that require medical treatment in the US. ABout a third, or 650+ of those require emergency room visits.
     
    Even when wearing eye protection, studies have shown that 40% of these eye injuries occur when people are wearing eye protection - but wearing the improper type or wearing them wrong way was a major factor. While certain eye injuries can happen even when eye protection is properly utilized, the majority of injuries in which eye protection was being used is due to safety glasses without side shields.
     
    Not surprisingly, almost 70% of all accidents involving eye injury occur from flying or falling objects, sparks and debris striking the eye. Of the injured workers themselves, 3/5 of them estimate that the particle causing the damage was smaller than a pinhead and traveling faster than an object that had been thrown. This valuable insight, along with other statistics tells us that tiny, fast moving particles are the most common cause of eye injuries. There are many ways this can occur, from a simple gust of wind to piece of aluminum dust being thrown up by a sander or cutting tool.
     
    Accidents happen, that why they're called accidents. However, eye injuries are one of the only injuries that experts claim to be 90% avoidable.
     
    We often take our eyes for granted, but we need to make a better effort to expect the unexpected. It might take some getting used to and it may be a minor annoyance, but improving your use of eye protection could end up saving your sight and your career. Life is too short to suffer avoidable accidents, and it only makes sense to protect your eyes from common workplace hazards.
     
    Learn more about eye protection from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the CDC's Eye Safety Resources & Information page. Stay safe out there!
     

  • Uptick in Convictions & Prison Sentences for Work Related Employee Deaths

    workplace safety convictionsWhile fines, penalties and even restrictions on operations have been the common consequences of work-related injuries and deaths in the US, there has been a rather interesting but not surprising new trend in the courts. In the last 2 years alone, we've seen a large increase in the convictions of CEOs, supervisors, and managers which entail prison sentences in regards to cases involving worker deaths.
     
    Although deaths can occur from a worker's failure to follow safety procedure or the use of faulty or malfunctioning equipment, it's just as possible that higher-ups could be responsible for willful neglect by providing inadequate safety training, equipment or work environments.
     
    Just this week, Donald Blankenship, a rather prominent (former) CEO of one of the larger West Virginia coal companies Massey Energy, was convicted of violating federal safety standards in relation to an explosion that caused the each of 29 miners in 2010. While several other charges were surprisingly dismissed, he still faces up to one year in prison and is scheduled for sentencing. While facts surrounding the case are few, and while the courts prosecuted him without a single witness testimony, it could be said that it's a rather light conviction concerning the circumstances.
     
    There is still, however, a number of recent cases where very severe sentences have been handed down, such as:
     
    - Stewart Parnell who once oversaw Peanut Corporation of America, who was convicted on federal conspiracy charges in September 2014 and sentenced to 28 years in prison for charges related to a salmonella outbreak that killed 9 and sickened hundreds.
     
    - Richard Liu, the owner of Alameda County Construction Company and his project manager Dan Luo were both convicted to 2 years in prison for the death of a worker who was crushed by a wall of dirt after working on a job site that had been red-tagged by city inspectors after heavy rains.
     
    - Brent Weidman, owner of an arizona-based sewer & water company was convicted of negligent homicide for the deaths of two workers who were overcome and killed by toxic gasses in an underground sewage tank.
     
    - Safety manager Saul Florez and company director Angel Rodriguez of Bumble Bee Tuna Company were charged earlier this year with three felony counts each of Occupational Safety & Health Administration violation causing death to a worker after a man was killed in an oven.
     
    - John Wilkes, owner of a Florida tree service company was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this year for aggravated manslaughter after a 14 year-old employee fell 71 feet do his death.
     
    And that isn't the whole of it either, there are several more cases currently in process and/or unmentioned where justice is being served and the excuse of "it was an accident" just isn't sufficient enough and criminal charges are brought forth. While many people who are deserving of charges in relation to worker deaths might not even be charged or considered of any wrong doing, it's becoming clear that death is not an okay side-effect of doing business, and that paying out fines to OSHA and paying lawsuits to families is not a sufficient punishment for neglect resulting in death.
     
    If you're in a managerial position or the owner of a company where hazardous environments are an everyday occurrence of business, it's in your best interests, as well as the interests of your employees and their families, to do your very best to ensure safe working conditions. Cutting corners to save a few dollars might leave you sitting in a room with 4 corners for a very, very long time. Please, operate your business safely and treat your employees as if they were members of your own family. There is no situation where a little bit of time or money is worth a persons life. Be safe out there!

  • Don't Settle for "Good Enough", Demand 3M Scotchlite Reflectivity

    There's a wide range of brand names out there selling high visibility safety gear and work wear. The problem is that too many of these manufacturers are utilizing low-quality reflective materials to meet the minimum requirements of ANSI Class standards. What this means is that you're getting a garment that provides a lower level of safety, which ultimately makes you more prone to accidents and injuries on the job. Furthermore, independent tests have shown that 1 in 3 (non-scotchlite equipped) garments claiming to meet ANSI Class reflectivity requirements do not actually meet those requrements at all.
     
    In order to ensure the highest level of visibility and workplace safety, demand 3M Scotchlite reflective striping. When you purchase a safety garment that uses Scotchlite striping, you can be sure that it's of the highest quality and provides the best, most effective reflectivity available on the market today. Check out this short video below for more information. In the future, make sure that your garments are equipped with 3M Scotchlite reflective materials. Refusing to settle for less could save your life!
     

  • OSHA 2015: A Look Ahead For a Year of Safety

    2015 OSHA SafetyAs we move forward from year to year, we continually see changes develop in the world around us. New people come into our lives, we face new challenges, and new opportunities continue to present themselves. As interesting as it can be to watch the world transform in front of our very eyes, it's also somewhat time consuming to keep up with everything. Busy schedules and seemingly ever-increasing obligations often hamper our ability to stay on the leading edge of developments around us, leaving us wondering where the time went or how certain occurrences slipped right under our radar.
     
    Although much of our time is spent at work, the main focus of that time is usually production and completion of tasks, causing us to miss out on certain things like safety regulations, industry advancements, new technology and the like. In order to provide you with a heads-up for workplace safety in 2015, we've decided to write a little bit about what you can expect from OSHA in the next 365 days, just in case you haven't had the time to look into it yourself.
     

    OSHA is Introducing New Regulations

    For many people, news about new OSHA regulations is never good news. It usually means increased training, additional expense, and an increased risk for citation. But overall, these standards are put into place to coincide with the changes occurring in the workplace and the world around us. For the most part, these new and additional regulations only come into play for one reason only - to improve safety.
     
    In 2015, OSHA has prepared 3 final rulings that will be issued. The first is Confined Spaces for Construction, which unlike other industries doesn't have its own rules. It will lend additional protections specifically to workers in construction. The second is Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems. This standard has been stuck in limbo since 1990 and will ensure better protections against slips, trips and falls. The third ruling will be to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, which is more geared towards employers but in an effort to promote safety through increased availability of companies safety records to the public.
     
    There are also some new proposals out there, but nothing is set in stone as of yet. These ideas include: 1.) Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits 2.) Process Safety Management and Prevention of Major Chemical Accidents 3.) Communication Tower Safety 4.) Exposure to Crystalline Silica, and 5.) Exposure to Beryllium
     

    New Standards for Injury Reporting

    This one has already begun, and it's in an effort to provide better transparency and accuracy for companies safety records - both officially and for the public.
     
    As of January 1st, 2015 employers must report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours and all work-related hospitalizations, amputations and eye loss within 24 hours. Reporting can be done by calling OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or by filling out the new online reporting form available on OSHA's website.
     

    Now Exempt from OSHA?

    There has also been a dramatic change in certain industries in regards to their requirement to keep OSHA records in any form. Previously, the standards were based on data from 1996 through 1998. But with the influx of new data (from 2007-2009) they have determined that there are 82 industries that are now exempt. On the other side of things, there are now 25 more industries that are now required to begin keeping records.
     
    As a note, we'd like to mention that the new rulings on record keeping still allow the exemption for any business or employer who has 10 employees or less, regardless of the industry.
     

    In a Nutshell

    There are many other aspects that will be changing in the workplace due to new and ongoing regulation. While it's not always possible to stay informed on a daily basis, know that the information IS out there. For up-to-date information, visit and bookmark the OSHA website where all industry information and new regulatory standards are available.
     
    Remember, you spend a lot of time at work, therefor, you might as well be safe out there! Here's to a year of improved safety and working conditions for the employees of all industries.

  • Workplace Injury Continues to Decline, Yet Three Million Cases Were Still Reported in 2013

    workplace injuries declining but still too highWhile injuries and accidents in the workplace continue to decline, the number of official cases for the 2013 work year is still remarkably high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, three million employees in the United States suffered from a work-related injury or illness.
     
    Of course, while it's easy to focus on the large figures presented, the fact is that workplace injury cases continue to decline over recent years. While tighter restrictions and increased awareness contribute to the improvements, the sheer number of workplace injuries is still much higher than it could be. Continued effort, education and awareness on the part of both employers and employees is what will ultimately help reduce the number and create work environments that present a lower safety risk.
     
    Out of the three million injury cases in 2013, over half of them were considered to be serious injuries that resulted in several days away from work, job transfers or work restrictions.
     
    The highest rate of injury was found to be amongst mid-sized private industry workplaces which employ between 50 and 250 workers. Alternatively, the lowest rate of injury was among small businesses employing 11 workers or less.
     
    Some suffered back injuries, others foot or knee injuries. Some cases were less severe where slight sprains occurred yet there are still many cases where we have employees who have lost their lives or are now amputees. So as we see these numbers slowly going down, we're still seeing cases, many cases, where these accidents can be prevented.
     
    Among the three million reports of injury on the job, over 2.1 million occurred in service-providing industries which makes up nearly 83% of the private industry workforce. The remaining injuries occurred in manufacturing or good-producing industries. And while only 5% of the injury reports were related directly to workplace illness, that's still a a very large number of incidents where people are literally becoming sick from performing their jobs - and that requires some serious attention.
     
    In an effort to further decrease instances of injury and illness at work, OSHA has made changes to their injury/illness reporting requirements which mandates employers to report all fatal injuries within 8 ours and all in-patient cases of serious injury within 24 hours. Several industries will also be required to keep up-to-date injury and illness records at all times.
     
    In an ideal situation we'd like to see no injuries at work, but accidents do happen and realistically it's not possible to eliminate all hazards. However, dedicated employers can make a huge difference, as can employees who raise awareness and verbalize their concerns while committing to creating a safe workplace. It all begins with practicing proper safety procedures, utilizing the proper PPE Equipment and safety gear, and continued education.

  • 3M Scotchlite: Not All Hi Vis Reflective Gear is Created Equal

    HiVis-Supply-3M-Scotchlite-Reflective-TapeWhen it comes to high visibility safety gear, the main requirement is apparel that meets the standard ANSI safety specifications. While those specifications are put into place to ensure higher visibility in normal and low-light environments, not all reflective gear is created equal.

    Believe it or not, many high visibility products don't even meet the ANSI Class requirements that they're advertised to meet - and without proper ANSI compliance, a substantial risk is posed to your personal safety. Some products barely meet ANSI requirements, while others go above and beyond to deliver the best quality product available in an effort to keep you as safe and visible as possible. 3M is one of those manufacturers that consistently goes above and beyond with their patented Scotchlite technology.

    What makes 3M Scotchlite so good? A combination of vigorous testing, extensive design & planning and of course, dedication. 3M has invested a great deal of time, money and resources to create the highest quality reflective materials available anywhere. For 3M, improving personal safety is of the highest level of importance - it's their specialty! And nobody does it better.

    Did you know testing has shown that 1 in 3 non-3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material garments are not bright enough to meet relevant safety standards right out of the package, even though they are labeled as compliant? It's true, and you don't want to get stuck with those type of garments, especially when it's your personal safety on the line!

    Check out the short video below to see the difference that 3M Scotchlite materials make when it comes to enhanced nighttime visibility. You'll be surprised! The next time you purchase hi vis safety gear, make sure it's equipped with Scotchlite reflective material.

    At HiVis Supply, we have a giant inventory of high visibility safety gear equipped with 3M Scotchlite material. Visit us today at HiVisSupply.com and be sure you're getting the highest quality safety gear out there.

  • The Top Ten OSHA Violations for 2014

    top 10 osha violations of 2014Every year, OSHA releases a preliminary list of the top ten most frequent workplace safety violations. The figures below show the most cited violations within the U.S. in the 2014 fiscal year through August 11. The list was presented by the Deputy Director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust at the National Safety Council's Congress in San Diego, CA. this month.
     
    The top 10 most cited OSHA violations:
     
    Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,143 violations
    Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,161
    Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,029
    Respiratory Protection – (1910.134) – 3,223
    Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,704
    Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,662
    Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,490
    Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,448
    Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,200, and
    Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 2,056
     
    Aside from receiving a violation from OSHA, bad safety practices put employees at an elevated risk for injury or death in the workplace. Avoid the fines, avoid the problems, and adhere to OSHA regulations for your industry. Furthermore, make sure that yourself and other employees understand the importance of utilizing the proper personal protection equipment (PPE) in the workplace.
     

  • 10 Workplace Safety Facts You Probably Didn't Know.

    workplace safety factsThere are plenty of jobs in the United States and other countries around the world that are labeled as risky, dangerous, hazardous and even deadly. You see the lists each year, as writers, researchers and news sources struggle to properly organize and present articles on what they claim to be the 10 or 25 most dangerous jobs or the 5 most deadly occupations. But due to hundreds if not thousands of different factors, it's nearly impossible to label any profession as the most deadly. We do however, know of a handful or two of occupations that are specifically dangerous.
     
    Aside from trying to present the occupations that are considered to be the most risky to your well being, we're presenting a list of 10 interesting workplace safety statistics. These are completely random, yet legitimate statistics involving safety issues on the job. Remember to be vigilant about safety by using the proper safety gear, taking the proper precautions and educating yourself and co-workers on the best safety practices.
     

    Deadly Sports? Kind of...

    In 2022, Qatar will host the world cup. While preparations have already began for the stadium and other infrastructure, 900 workers have already died in accidents as of March 2014. As a comparison, 25 workers died in preparation for the Sochi Olympics and 6 workers died during construction for the 2013 World Cup recently held in Brazil.
     

    Don't get Dozed!

    Beware of bulldozers! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of 4,206 reported construction site fatalities, 774 were the direct result of bulldozer accidents. These incidents included rollovers, crushing incidents, becoming trapped, and run-over accidents.
     

    This is Shocking!

    An average of 400+ workers die each year in the US from electrocution. Electrical linemen count for about 10% of those fatalities.
     

    Nothing to Smile About

    In 2012 in there were 249 workplace related suicides and 475 workplace homicides in the United States.
     

    Foreign actories Highly Fatal?

    It's estimated that there are about 150,000 factory worker deaths annually in China. Researchers feel the number may be up to 50% higher but accurate statistics are not really available.
     

    Don't Retire Before You Retire

    45 to 54 year olds are the most likely age group to suffer a fatality in the workplace. Workers who are 20 years old and younger make up the smallest percentage of workplace fatalities.
     

    Cited for Safety

    In 2010 the average OSHA fine was $1,028 and the average company received more than two fines per inspection. According to OSHA the most violated standards over past year were fall protection and scaffolding requirements.
     

    Way Too Many

    Globally, an average of 6,000 people die per day as a result of work-related accidents or diseases, totaling over 2.2 million work-related deaths a year. According to the international Labour Organization about 350,000 of those yearly deaths are from accidents while the remaining 1.7 million are from diseases.
     

    'Checks' and Balances?

    The cost of work-related injury and illness in 2007 was about $250 billion in the US. That puts the price to of workplace health and safety problems above the economic burden posed by all cancers combined.
     

    More Workers Making it Home

    Since OSHA was implemented in 1971, the rate of workplace fatalities among employees has decreased by 62% while occupational injury and illness rates have decreased by nearly 42%.
     

  • Cell Phones in the Workplace: Bad Call

    cell phones in the workplaceWith the never-ending rise in technology over the last 15 years, cell phones have rapidly adapted into something we seemingly cannot live without. What began as crude portable contraptions has evolved into to sleek and powerful devices offering access to a plethora of information combined with multiple platforms for instant global communication at the convenience of your fingertips. However, this rise in technology brings with it an unfortunate downside - personal safety.
     
    We've all heard the horror stories, usually involving motor vehicle accidents due to talking and/or texting while driving. While those are most definitely legitimate dangers and a true cause for concern, we might tend to overlook another dangerous aspect of advanced technology - cell phones in the workplace.
     
    There are not quite any concrete numbers available, but this is a very real hazard. Reports claim that since 2006, the number of cell phone related accidents involving injury and death have nearly doubled each year. This is an important concern for the workplace, even more so for industries and occupations that already pose above average hazards.
     

    Accidents Happen Quickly

    Consider the following examples of life-changing accidents that were directly related to cellular phone use in the workplace.
     
    Forklift operator Ramon Jamison discusses what happened the day he was distracted by texting and struck a co-worker:
    “I usually keep my phone in my locker every morning, but my wife was having an ultrasound that morning and I wanted to know if we were having a little boy or a little girl, so I kept my phone with me,” says Ramon.
     
    “I was moving stacks of pallets in the storage yard when I heard the message alert go off,” he adds. Ramon says he was so excited to find out that he didn’t even think about not checking his text. He looked down and had to focus on his phone for a moment to select and read the text.
     
    “That’s when Ronnie suddenly walked in front of the forklift and I didn’t see him until I heard him shout,” he continues. “The thought of anyone walking in front of my forklift was the furthest thing from my mind.”
     
    What should have been one of the best days of his life ended up being one of the worst. Not only did Ramon lose his job for violating his company’s rules on cell phone use, his actions caused the death of a friend and a co-worker.
     
    Machine operator's split-second decision results in traumatic injury:
    Believe it or not, even though you may want to stay in constant contact with your social and family life, very few things really require that you do so. Machine operator Iris McMurray explains how her desire for instant access to information led to an instant injury as well.
     
    “During lunch, my boyfriend and I were texting each other about our last minute weekend trip to the beach. He was trying to find a nice hotel that still had a vacancy,” says Iris.
     
    “We’re not supposed to take our phones into the production area, but everybody does it, so I figured it would be okay. Plus, I was really eager to find out if he found a place to stay,” she adds.
     
    Iris said she worked for a while and then noticed she had a text from her boyfriend concerning their hotel room.
     
    “It happened so fast! As I tried to reply, I somehow dropped the phone right into my machine,” she says. “My first reaction was to grab it before it got eaten by the machine, or worse yet, jam up the production line.” When Iris dropped her phone, she tried to grab it off of the machine’s conveyor, but her hand was crushed when it was caught between the conveyor belt and the roller.
     
    "I’ll have to live with that split second decision for the rest of my life. If I had just followed company policy, and just waited until my afternoon break. If I had just thought about how dangerous texting around that machine was. Now, every time I look at my hand, I wonder, what if?” Iris concludes.
     
    Iris could have waited to correspond with her boyfriend; it really would not have made any difference other than her eagerness to know the weekend plans. We’ve all heard the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.” In this case, a desire for instant information injured Iris.
     
    Also, consider the following recent accidents involving cellphone usage while working.
     
    • A N.B worker steps in front of a truck while talking on his cell phone and dies
    • A major Metrolink rail crash that kills 18 people is directly related to an engineer text messaging on the job
    • A truck driver slams into a completely stopped car while using his cell phone and kills a woman
     
    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
     

    Create Awareness, Adopt a Policy

    Many employers have strict restrictions in place for using cell phones in the workplace, especially while performing duties. However, it's one of those things that's often ignored by workers and even management. While it's nice to have the ability to be in constant contact with family and friends, we have to understand that it can cost us our health, our life, or the life of an innocent co-worker.
     
    If you're working on a ladder, a lift, with heavy equipment, potentially dangerous machinery or hazardous materials, this risk is exponentially multiplied. When performing any of those duties, your top priority needs to be safety - and that's not possible when you're distracted. Even if you're standing safely in place on the ground, the temporary distraction of a text or phone call may render you incapable of seeing and avoiding a falling object that could cause injury or death.
     
    Be sure to consider this next time you're on the job. If you're an employer, take the time to have a serious talk with your employees and implement rules for using cell phones in the workplace. If you're an employee, speak to your employer about this hazard and ask them to address your concerns in an effort to educate your co-workers and create a safer and more efficient workplace for everyone.

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