Off-the-job injuries and fatalities cost the country more than $500 billion, and cost employers more than 200 million lost workdays each year, according to the National Safety Council. And the holidays can be especially damaging, with the upswing in holiday travel and other holiday-related activities.
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?
With cases of Ebola happening in the United States and leading the news, employers may be wondering what they can do to prevent the disease in their workplaces. The federal government and some states are issuing guidance to help reduce the chances of transmission of infectious diseases, such as Ebola, from affecting their workers.
On the one hand, you really need people to show up for work. On the other hand, if people show up for work when they’re sniffling, sneezing, coughing, feverish, and miserable, how much work are they really getting done? And how many of their coworkers will call in sick the following week, because of their exposure to the first one who should have stayed home—and didn’t?
Right in the thick of debates over whether to restrict air travel from countries where the Ebola epidemic rages, and the sudden emergence of enterovirus-D68 as a deadly threat to children with underlying respiratory issues, comes flu season, with its annual U.S. death toll in the tens of thousands. What’s a worried employer to do?
Many Hispanic and Latino workers are insufficiently trained in the hazards of their jobs and in safe work practices. This can happen even in workplaces where training schedules and outlines are rigorously adhered to, if employers fail to recognize the severity of the barrier posed by limited English proficiency. Even a worker who speaks English well enough to communicate with coworkers on a day-to-day basis may not be fluent enough to adequately comprehend training and informational materials that are provided in English.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) convened a National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety in April 2010. The Agency has reached out to Hispanic and Latino workers since that time, attempting to reduce their high rates of work-related injuries and fatalities, but there is little to show for its efforts. The preliminary results of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary for 2013, released in September, show that fatal work injuries among Hispanic and Latino workers increased by 7% over 2012 figures—the only ethnic groups to show such an increase.