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Workplace Safety Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Construction Site - Site SafetyWhen you go to work, you expect a safe environment — at least that’s true of most of us. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) recent report, roughly 12 people a day lose their lives in the workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that even this is a marked improvement from where things were 40 years ago when OSHA got its start. Herb Gibson, a writer for The Coloradoan, gives us the numbers:

In 1970, on average, 38 American workers were killed on the job every day. That rate has now fallen to just more than 12 workers per day. That’s an outstanding collective achievement. But there is clearly much work to be done to ensure that all workers can be productive and safe, while looking forward to a retirement free from disabling occupational disease and injury.

OMB Watch, a website devoted to creating greater transparency and accountability in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), notes that the statistics in the report are almost certainly low due to underreporting of injuries in the workplace environment. The pertinent part of the study they refer to in order to support this stance is:

In 2009, more than 4.1 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, had work-related injuries and illnesses that were reported by employers, with 3.3 million injuries and illnesses reported in private industry. Due to limitations in the injury reporting system and underreporting of workplace injuries, this number understates the problem. The true toll is estimated to be two to three times greater — or 8 million to 12 million injuries and illnesses a year.

As you can see, while things may have improved over the past 40 years, there is still a long way to go. Fatal accidents befall 12 workers a day, and injuries affect many more. It’s the responsibility of any property owner — whether it’s a business, a residence or public property — to keep their property safe.

Image by Ell Brown / Elliot Brown on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license.


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