Each of us goes to our job in Kentucky expecting to return home; not everyone, however, will be so lucky.

According to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a total of 4,609 people were killed on the job during 2011; this comes out to nearly 90 each week, or 13 per day. Although this is the second lowest rate since fatality data were first tallied in 1992, the figure increased from 4,551 in 2009.

“Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in 2012. “Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy. American workers are not looking for a handout or a free lunch. They are looking for a good day’s pay for a hard day’s work. They just want to go to work, provide for their families, and get home in one piece.”

Beware the “Fatal Four”

About 17.5 percent of workplace fatalities in 2011 occurred in the construction industry. OSHA refers to the leading causes of death as the “fatal four”:

  1. falls, which account for 35 percent;
  2. electrocutions, which account for 9 percent;
  3. being struck by an object, which account for 10 percent; and
  4. being caught between objects, which accounts for 3 percent.

OSHA illustrates these figures by stating that eliminating the fatal four would save 410 employees’ lives each year.

OSHA’s Top Ten Violations

Many lives would be saved if companies followed OSHA’s standards responsibly. In 2011, these were the 10 most frequently violated OSHA standards:

  1. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
  2. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
  3. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
  6. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
  8. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  9. Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.303)
  10. Machine guarding (machines, general requirements, general industry) (29 CFR 1910.212)

Progress, But Not Elimination

Since OSHA’s beginnings in 1970, the number of workplace fatalities in the United States has decreased by more than 65 percent, despite the number of workers nearly doubling. Obviously, this is a monumental improvement. Looking at the glass half-empty, though, it means that 4,609 workers did not go home to their loved ones in 2011.

If your loved one died as a result of a workplace accident, contact a wrongful death attorney in Louisville. Call Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.

 

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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