Having reviewed the value of safety, safety culture, and the importance of having a passion for safety in recent blogs, I’d like to focus today on making your workplace safer… and offer specific recommendations to keep your workers safe.
Two weeks ago I used this space to focus on the Value of Safety and the importance of understanding it. Last week I wrote about the Culture of Safety and the significance of company leaders and workers embracing it. This week I want to focus on the passion to keep workers safe.
One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes featured older Americans in a “Home for the Aged” trying to regain their youth by playing a game of Kick the Can. Perhaps you saw this episode recently during the New Year’s Twilight Zone marathon.
I usually reserve this space to share information of value about safety. However, today’s message is not about safety specifically, but it is about making a difference in the lives of those we touch.
I remember learning in school about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City in
1911. It was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three.
Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts, are one of the most obvious dangers in the workplace, carrying a great deal of responsibility for those who operate this heavy machinery. Very recently, there was a building collapse caused by misuse of equipment right here in Philadelphia. With the proper training and certifications, we hope to decrease incidents like this and ensure that every worker makes it home safely every single day.
As many of you may have already suspected, scaffolding accidents are among the most common in the construction industry. Improper scaffolding practices are the #3 OSHA violation, with 5,423 citations given in 2013. Based on OSHA reports, 65 percent of workers in the construction industry, a whopping 2.3 million, operate on scaffolds frequently. Of these workers, 4,500 get injured every year and approximately 60 experience fatalities. The most shocking statistic of all though is this: 72 percent of these accidents occur as a result of deficient platforms and falling.