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.
I had a wonderful opportunity to attend and moderate a session at an event sponsored by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) held on May 9, 2014 at The Union League, in Philadelphia, PA.
As we look ahead to May, which is National Electrical Safety Month, I’d like to share some information that may spark some reaction.
Every year, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports on the Top 10
Most Frequently Cited Violations. Though OSHA last reported on this in September, this information is well worth sharing.
Just over a month ago, a maintenance worker fell to his death from a cell tower in Texas. The next day, a cell phone tower collapsed in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Minutes later a second tower at the same site also fell. The collapse of these two towers resulted in the deaths of two workers and a firefighter responding to the scene, and sent two other employees to the hospital with serious injuries.
For some people, be it at work or at home, safety is always on our mind. We are constantly
aware of our surroundings. We tend to be more cautious about the way we dress (always ready for inclement weather), the way we walk, the way we drive, the way we think. We are cautious and prepared. We consciously think about safety and we embrace being safe.