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Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys discuss workplace injuries and fatalities and new OSHA regulation

4,383 workers were killed on the job in 2012, averaging more than 84 deaths a week or nearly 12 deaths every day, according to statistics from the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA also reported that out of 3,945 worker fatalities in private industry in 2012, nearly 20% were in construction. According to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5% to 775 in 2012. The leading cause of construction site deaths was slip and falls, followed by struck by objects, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These “fatal four” as they are referred to by OSHA were responsible for 56% of construction worker deaths in 2012. Eliminating the “Fatal Four” could save 435 workers’ lives in America each year.

Fatal work injuries in the private mining sector rose, led by an increase in fatal injuries to workers in oil and gas extraction industries. Fatal work injuries in oil and gas extraction rose 23% in 2012, reaching a new high.

Transportation incidents accounted for more than 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2012, with about 58% being roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. According to OSHA, transportation counts for 2012 are expected rise when updated 2012 data are released in the spring of 2014.

The AFL-CIO reported that workers suffer 7.6 million to 11.4 million job injuries and illnesses each year. They state that the cost of job injuries and illnesses are enormous – estimated at $250 billion to $300 billion a year. According to the AFL-CIO, a contributing factor is that the number of workplace inspectors in inadequate, with OSHA, only having 1,938 inspectors to inspect the 8 million workplaces under OSHA’s jurisdiction.

According to the AFL CIOs Death on the Job report, the fishing, and logging industries had the highest fatality rates, while public sector jobs in fire safety and nursing led the field in non-fatal injuries and illnesses. They reported that Latino workers die in disproportionate numbers, with the fatality rate among Latino workers 14% higher than among the population as a whole.

Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. OSHA reported that fatal falls, slips or trips took the lives of 668 workers in 2012. Fall protection, construction was one of the most frequently cited standards by OSHA in the fiscal year 2013.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer, Caroline Munley, stated that employers have a duty to make sure they protect people in the workplace from the risks of slips, falls and trips. She offers the following advice on reducing falls in the workplace.

  • Provide guardrails and toe-board to prevent workers from falling in dangerous areas.
  • Inspect work areas to see if other means of protection, such as safety nets, harnesses, and lines, stair railing or handrails should be added.
  • Create good housekeeping practices. Keep floors in work areas clean, dry and free from any known dangers.
  • Create and maintain proper lighting.
  • Avoid creating obstacles in aisles and walkways.
  • Train workers about job hazards.
  • Ensure workers wear suitable footwear for the workplace.

OSHA recently announced a proposed switch from the traditional reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses (using annual paper Form 300A) to requiring electronic delivery of that information. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is titled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” The announcement followed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012.

The first proposed new requirement is for businesses with more than 250 employees, and who are already required to keep records, to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA. OSHA is also proposing that businesses with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, be required to submit electronically only their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. OSHA plans to eventually post the data online. The public has now until March 8 to file comments with the agency.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a workplace accident, the Pennsylvania Personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help. Call the Munley team at 855-866-5529.

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