Examining the Rise in Fatal Workplace InjuriesJuly 26, 2018
Workplace injuries are an unfortunate reality, and construction sites tend to have more potentially fatal hazards than other industries. However, when four workers are killed in the span of eight days, it warrants further investigation into what caused these fatalities, and what can be done to prevent accidents like this in the future.
The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health office is investigating the matter, but the causes of the accidents will probably not be confirmed for several weeks.
In early June, a 20-year-old construction worker died when a trench collapsed around him. A few days later, a 31-year-old construction worker was fatally injured after he fell down an elevator shaft. Another worker was killed after being pinned by a branch while trimming a tree. Finally, a fourth worker was fatally electrocuted while installing siding on a new house.
All workers are entitled to a safe work environment that is free of hazards that could cause injuries or illnesses. Employers have a responsibility to assess the workplace on a regular basis, and to take preventative measures to protect employees from future accidents. According to the President and CEO of Lancaster Safety Consulting Inc., employers do not always know what their responsibilities are when it comes to workplace safety.
Safety Programs First to be Cut
Unfortunately, when there are budget cuts, departments that oversee safety are often the first to go. In the construction industry, and in jobs that involve driving, or exposure to toxic chemicals, having a department that is solely dedicated to overseeing safety is critical to maintaining a safe work environment for all employees.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 106 workplace fatalities in Maryland in 2006. In 2008, that number went down by close to 50 percent to only 60 fatalities. The number increased slightly to 73 deaths in 2014. Then in 2016, there were 92 workplace fatalities, 30 of which occurred in the transportation and utilities industries, with 21 in the construction industry.
Even employers who have a history of little to no workplace accidents must avoid becoming complacent. According to Lancaster Safety Consulting’s CEO, just because an employer has a positive safety record, it does not necessarily mean they are following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) official safety requirements.
Employers should not base their safety programs on their own personal knowledge. They should reach out to OSHA officials, insurance carriers, or safety consultants to develop an effective, comprehensive safety program that creates a risk-free work environment for all employees.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Workplace Injuries
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work, you are encouraged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. All employees are entitled to a safe work environment. If your employer did not have an effective safety protocol in place, we will investigate the circumstances of your injury and pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.