Ready for some statistics that should make you take a step back? Between 2003 and 2010, 143 workers on road construction sites in the United States died when they were hit by vehicles backing up. And in 2011, 70 workers in all industries were killed in backover accidents.
Injuries and Illness
Modern safety management goes beyond covering traditional workplace accidents to now being equally concerned with illnesses caused on and even off the job. This section will explain what you need to know to avoid both injuries and illnesses, and to track your progress in reaching this goal.
Free Special REport: Does Your PPE Program Meet OSHA’s Requirements?
The World Health Organization has called stress “the health epidemic of the 21st century.” According to the annual StressPulse Survey conducted by employee assistance program (EAP) provider ComPsych Corporation, stress and personal relationship issues are the most common reasons for employee absence, accounting for nearly half (47%) of employee absences—handily beating out medical issues. Given that the holidays often force people into close contact with relationships they may find stressful, it makes sense to give workers some additional coping strategies this holiday season.
You may not think of carrying holiday dishes, decorations and gifts as “manual materials handling,” but that’s what it amounts to. The amount of lifting, carrying, hanging, and hauling that your workers do during the holidays may well exceed what they do at other times of the year. All that lifting and carrying puts them at risk of back and shoulder injuries.
Holiday decorations and merchandise seem to go out earlier and earlier—and this year, winter came along with them, arriving with a hard freeze that hit all 50 U.S. states—including Hawaii!—in mid-November, and following that with a snowstorm that dumped 6 feet of snow on Buffalo, New York, overnight. It could be a long, cold winter. If your workers have to dig out, can they do it without hurting themselves?
It was the week before Thanksgiving 2014, and the Hardman family was on their way to a dream family vacation at Disney World in Orlando, when the family’s 16-year-old son, who was driving, briefly nodded off at the wheel. Six of the eight passengers were not wearing seat belts; all six were ejected from the vehicle, and five died, including both parents. When your workers take to the roads this holiday season, will they be safe? Do they know to ensure that drivers are alert, and everybody wears a seat belt?
Yesterday, we talked about the ways workers can hurt themselves when they’re trying to get at something that’s out of reach. But falls from elevations are not the only hazard workers face during the holidays; they may also be at increased risk from falls on the same level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 173,000 workers suffered reportable injuries from same-level falls in 2012.
Ah, the holidays! Twinkly lights, evergreen wreaths, chirpy music, family gatherings … and hazards that don’t apply to any other time of year. Safety Daily Advisor’s upcoming series on holiday hazards will help you remind your workers of the hazards their holiday activities can present, both in and out of the workplace. The best holiday gift is for all of your workers to come through the season healthy and whole, and ready to begin the new year!