‘Leadership needs to set the tone from the top and engage all workers in safety’
In 2018, workplace fatalities across the United States increased by two per cent to 5,250, up from 5,147 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest total worker fatality number reported since 2008, said the National Safety Council (NSC).
“The data shows we are still not doing enough to protect our workers. Workplace fatalities should never be considered a cost of doing business,” the NSC said in a press release. “Employers need to take a systematic approach to safety that includes having policies, training and risk assessment techniques in place to address major causes of fatalities and injuries. Leadership needs to set the tone from the top and engage all workers in safety, identify hazards and measure safety performance using leading indicators to continuously improve.”
Work-related motor vehicle deaths declined slightly in 2018, totalling 1,276, which is down from 1,299 in 2017. Falls to a lower level decreased to 615 deaths in 2018, down from 713 the year prior. However, motor vehicle crashes and falls remain the leading causes of preventable death on the job.
“With the innovative tools available to employers nationwide, it’s concerning that we’re continuing to see higher numbers of worker fatalities,” said Diana Stegall, president of the American Society of Safety Professionals. “Most occupational incidents are preventable given today’s technologies and proven safety and health strategies.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also recently released its annual injuries and illness data. For the first time since 2012, non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses remained unchanged at 2.8 million.