2016 is shaping up to be another grim year for worker safety in the U.S. At the year’s midpoint, OSHA records indicate that the U.S. is again on track to record more than 4,000 workplace injury deaths. The rates probably will not set any kind of record but instead simply mark another year when too many workers unnecessarily lost their lives as a result of corporate negligence and a culture of placing profits over safety.
On average, 13 U.S. workers die on the job every single day across the country. They’re often referred to as “accidents,” but the reality is that almost every workplace fatality is preventable through education, training, supervision and a focus on safety first.
Sadly, most of these tragedies come and go with little attention from the broader public. Too often, a single sentence in an OSHA report may be the only recognition these hard-working Americans receive in death. Examples from a three-day period in June include:
June 25, 2016 – Worker killed when jacket caught by rotating shaft.
June 25, 2016 – Worker killed in fall from ladder jack scaffold.
June 24, 2016 – Worker struck and killed by column during demolition.
June 23, 2016 – Worker killed after falling into scrap pit and being pulled through baler machine.
June 23, 2016 – Worker fatally crushed between scissor lift and upper mezzanine floor.
June 23, 2016 – Worker died after being pulled into rotating parts of industrial washing machine.
OSHA records show that male workers account for approximately 90 percent of workplace injury deaths, with the self-employed more than three times as likely to be fatally injured. Transportation-related incidents take the greatest toll, followed by falls, exposure to harmful substances and workplace violence.
At Farrar & Ball, we believe passionately that U.S. workers should not have to risk their lives in order to make a living because all workplace injuries are preventable. Too often, employers view workplace injuries as a cost of doing business. When employers fail to make safety the top priority, our trial team is prepared to hold them accountable in the civil justice system. Sadly, a jury verdict – rather than a minimal OSHA fine – is the only thing that will make corporate interests take notice.