On average, 15 American workers die each day from injuries, and 9,000 are hurt seriously enough to need emergency room treatment, says Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant. Yet, she pointed out, common sense and simple actions can help prevent workplace injuries.
“During April, the 14 county health departments in our district are raising awareness of injury prevention through our month-long campaign `Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-Free,’” said Grant. “This week’s message is `Injury Prevention Starts on the Job.’”
Approximately 200 workers in the United States are hospitalized each day, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Not all of those injured on the job are adults, Grant said. “Around 157,000 youth are injured or become ill because of their jobs nationally every year.”
Further, workplace violence presents serious safety and health risks.
“Violence that occurs at work is behind many work-related injuries and deaths,” she said. “Homicide is the fourth-leading cause of fatal work injuries in the United States, occurring most frequently in the retail, healthcare and social services fields.”
But employees and employers can work together to build safer, healthier work environments. Grant suggested the following:
- Understand and follow all workplace safety regulations and best practices … go beyond the minimum required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Maintain a working sprinkler system and schedule fire drills to practice safe evacuation
- Wear all protective gear required or recommended for your profession
- Ensure vision is not obstructed when operating heavy equipment
- Identify and fix workplace hazards such as unstable surfaces and malfunctioning vehicles
- Conduct and/or participate in personal safety training programs on how to recognize, avoid or diffuse potentially violent workplace situations
“Worksite injuries are not `accidents’ or `part of the job,’” Grant said. “Whatever the cause, most are preventable and the risk factors and incidences can be reduced.”