Fire safety has come a long way since the tragedy at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, that killed 146 garment workers -123 women and 23 men, in 1911. Today, there are standards put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to guard against hazards like locked fire exits and inadequate fire extinguishing systems.
However, according to OSHA, workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers each year and costs businesses more than $2.3 billion in property damage. Explosions and fires account for 3% of workplace injuries and have the highest casualty rate of all probable workplace accidents.
Unexpected explosions and fires in the workplace are frequently caused by risk factors such as faulty gas lines, poor pipefitting, improperly stored combustible materials or open flames. These incidents cause damage to the respiratory system, varying degrees of burns and potential disfigurement.
According to the 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries amounted to nearly $62 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs. This translates into more than a billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries.
When you hear the phrase, “disaster in the workplace,” you think of big explosions, massive fires and horrible accidents. These associations make sense as the effects of disasters, after all, are huge. However, the steps you can take to prevent these large-scale calamities are small, simple and unfortunately often forgotten or ignored.
In previous years, groups have argued that OSHA’s penalties for violations were not high enough to effectively deter violations. These groups proposed that if fines were higher, businesses would be less likely to commit violations.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." In order for OSHA to succeed in this mission, companies must be in compliance of its safety standards.
Merriam-Webster's definition of accident is, "an unfortunate event resulting from carelessness or ignorance." The first example of the word used in a sentence is, "He was injured in an accident at work." Why does the first example of accident involve the workplace?
Having a solid safety program in effect can prevent many injuries and significantly reduce your workers’ compensation exposure. But work-related injuries are not completely avoidable. OSHA reports that each year, over 4.1 million American workers suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. Once the injury occurs, your focus needs to shift from injury avoidance to limiting the impact of the claim on your business operations and your bottom line.
At the time that I am publishing this blog about the importance of communications in the workplace, Arbill employees are meeting at our headquarters in Philadelphia, PA at our winter Town Hall sessions. Today (February 16, 2016) and this week, Arbill will present information to educate and inspire our family of employees. We’ll learn from internal and external experts, and we’ll share information that will ultimately help us work more in sync and better serve every customer.