We've made progress, but we can do better.
Work-related deaths and injuries in the U.S. are about one-third of what they were in 1970, thanks largely to OSHA and state safety programs. Despite great progress, an average of 13 American workers still die on the job every day and hundreds more suffer disabling injuries. So many of these accidents are completely preventable.
We can do better than this. We can be vigilant to the dangers and demand that employers adhere to the law.
Here is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) list of the 10 most frequent safety violations across the U.S. in 2015:
- Fall protection (construction) - Lack of guard rails, toe-boards, harnesses
- Scaffolding (construction) - Scaffold collapse, no rails or harness, falling objects
- Ladders (construction) - Structurally unsound, improperly secured, slippery rungs
- Respiratory protection - Exposure to toxic fumes/sprays/dust or insufficient oxygen
- Hazard communication - Chemicals mislabeled or improperly stored or handled
- Electrical wiring - Fire and electric shock hazards (exposed wires, not grounded, etc.)
- Electrical equipment - Degraded tools, exceeds safe voltage, inadequate workspace, etc.
- Powered industrial trucks - Safety issues with trucks, forklifts, power jacks, etc.
- Machine guarding - Missing or disabled guards on saws, presses, cutters, etc
- Hazardous energy release - Improper lockout/tagout on machines, causing burns, crush injuries, shocks, etc.
Change the ending to the same old story
OSHA violations are not just ticky-tack citations. They are closely tied to actual patterns of work accidents, including the "Fatal Four" dangers in construction work (falls, electrocution, struck by object and caught in/caught between).
Saving a few dollars or a few minutes is not worth ending a life or someone's livelihood. Workers must be able to speak up about safety violations or report them to state or federal authorities without threat of retaliation.
The attorneys of Schwartz Law Firm LLC hold employers accountable for creating or allowing unsafe working conditions. We represent construction workers, industrial workers, dockworkers, maritime employees and others throughout Louisiana in injury lawsuits over workplace safety violations.