5 Key Insights from the Recent Report on Work Related Injuries
In 2017, there were a total of 5,147 fatal work related injuries nationally, down slightly from the reported 2016 numbers.
That’s just the beginning of the recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here are five key insights you need to know from the recent report so that you can stay informed and, more importantly, stay safe.
1. Drivers Have More Fatal Injuries Than Any Other Group
Construction workers are in high-risk situations fairly often, but when it comes to fatal injuries by occupational group, drivers still have more fatal injuries than any other individual group.
In particular, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most fatal work related injuries, with 840 fatalities in 2017.
If you’re a truck driver, it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep yourself safe on the job. It’s not just for your own safety—it’s for the safety of others who share the road with you, and your loved ones’ peace of mind.
As a truck driver, you know what your truck’s blind spots are. The problem is, other drivers on the road may not know your blind spots.
With that in mind, keep a close eye on your truck’s “no zones” (areas where accidents are most likely to occur) including:
- Directly behind the truck
- Just behind the side mirrors
- Off to the side, just in front of the cab
You should also be aware of the speed limits, and abide by them. As far as physics is concerned, your truck is a large, fast-moving object that’s difficult to stop in a hurry. It’s a lot easier to keep everyone safe if you abide the speed limits.
With that in mind, you should also make sure to reduce your speed when making turns. Remember, physics: your truck is larger and longer than most other vehicles on the road, so if your truck takes a turn at the posted speed limit, it’s in danger of tipping over. Set your speed much lower in order to compensate for your truck’s dimensions.
2. Fatal Falls were at Their Highest Level in 26 Years
Among the most significant facts in the report was the fact that fatal falls were at their highest rate in the 26 years that the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries has collected information on the subject.
That’s a concerning trend, because falls, both fatal and nonfatal, are serious and expensive.
Did you know, for example, that one in five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head wound, or that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries?
Construction and goods production workers had the highest rates of fatal falls in Michigan. This isn’t surprising, as historically, fatal falls have caused more construction worker deaths than any other incident, but it remains worrisome for families with a loved one in those industries.
3. There Were More Vehicle-Related Incidents than Any Other Accident
Fatal falls are at an all-time high, but the single biggest cause of fatal injuries was transportation incidents, accounting for 40% of occupational fatalities in 2017 (about 2,077 incidents in total).
That’s concerning for transportation workers in Michigan, as the industry accounts for some 278,130 jobs in the state.
If you’re one of the many transportation workers in Michigan trying to keep yourself safe on the road, it’s important to take the right steps. One of the best things you can do to drive safely is to drive “defensively”.
For example, you should always be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and be prepared to handle the unexpected. Stay alert and stay focused—driving is primarily a task about focus, and if yours slips, you’re putting your safety in the hands of the drivers around you.
Don’t rely on other drivers. Be considerate and responsible, but don’t rely on other drivers to maintain the safety of the road. You can control how you drive.
With that in mind, it’s also a good idea to keep a two-second cushion between you and the driver in front of you (four seconds if you’re driving in inclement weather).
4. Construction and Transportation Account for More Than Half of Deaths
Transportation workers aren’t alone in taking risks every day they go to work. In fact, construction and transportation workers, including extraction and material moving, accounted for 47% of all worker deaths in 2017.
If you’re a construction worker, it’s important to be aware of the “Fatal Four” for the construction industry:
- Struck by an object
Don’t leave your family to worry about your safety. Avoid construction accidents by taking the appropriate safety measures, such as wearing the right safety equipment, using ladders and scaffolds safely, wearing high-visibility clothes near equipment, and maintaining a safe distance from power lines when working.
5. Crane-Related Accidents Fell to Their Lowest Recorded Level Ever
Finally, a bit of good news: crane-related workplace fatalities fell to their lowest recorded rate in the history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries at just 33 deaths in 2017.
That said, those 33 deaths are still 33 too many for the families of those who died. When the 2018 census rolls around, make sure you’re not another statistic.
When you’re operating a crane, few experiences are quite as terrifying as when a crane becomes unbalanced while lifting a load or collapses under the weight of an excessive load.
Before you ever lift a load, make sure the crane is situated on a piece of land that’s stable enough to support its weight. A stable crane won’t do you much good if the ground shifts underneath you.
You should also check the crane itself to make sure everything is safe. For example, always examine the load chain for any damage or twists. Check the hook to make sure it’s not out of shape.
And whatever else you do, don’t try to lift more than the hoist rating. You’re putting yourself and everyone around you at risk when you create unnecessarily dangerous conditions.
Have You Suffered Work Related Injuries?
All statistics aside, if you’ve suffered work related injuries, the numbers don’t matter to you in the moment. Chances are, you’re more worried about how long you’ll be out of work, how expensive your medical bills will be, and how much the injury could hinder your family.
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation that can help lessen the blow. Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys offer confidential free consultations to help you figure out the best course of action for you.
Don’t be another statistic. Stay safe, and if you need help, let the attorneys at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys fight for you.