Where do people die?

Household Hazards

Hi, it’s Steven St. Laurent, the Spanish OSHA Guy! Things have been great since Fall kicked in. It’s been crazy busy and I’ve missed you folks. So, here I am back writing some more. Besides conducting OSHA training in Massachusetts; I’ve been to Puerto Rico, Nebraska, New York, and this week I’m in Mississippi conducting safety training! This is good for work because August was actually a very slow month for training.

Here in Mississippi I’m conducting a custom safety training that focuses on why people don’t follow the safety rules and procedures that they know they should follow. I wrote several articles this past summer on this:  One was entitled “Fatality“, another “Your Attitude Stinks!” and the other was “You ran out of Time“. Now I want to write about some more of the content from these trainings.

Where do people die? Well about 100,000 people die every year in the United States due to injury deaths. This does not take into account sickness, cancer, long-term illnesses, heart attack or stroke. This 100,000 figure specifically refers to injury deaths such as a fall, electrocution, decapitation, crushing, murder, car accident, drowning, suicide or other such injury death. One of the topics we pay special attention to is that fact that safety must be a 24/7 value that is never compromised. What percentage of the 100,000 annual deaths do you suppose happen at work? The answer is only 5,000. So, focusing all your company’s resources, times and efforts on only the accidents and hazards at work covers you for the things that cause just 5% of the deaths in the U.S. If a company only focuses on the workplace hazards, then they are really missing the boat. Because after all, if an employee falls from the top step of a step ladder while cleaning his gutters at home and brakes his leg, he is not coming to work for 6-8 weeks just that same as if he broke his leg while at work.

The company that created this custom safety training and that contracts me to deliver it, FDR Safety, wrote a wonderful article on their blog recently giving an amazing statistic: Six times as many work days are lost due to off-the-job injuries as on-the-job injuries!

This is where most people die:  off the job.

People die at home, on the road and at work. So, what should a company do?  They should start simply by incorporating a 24/7 attitude and culture into all their safety talks. An employee would never go up on a roof without taking precautions to protect against a fall (or shouldn’t because it’s against the law and puts themselves and their family’s future in potential peril), but yet how many of those same employees would then go home that very same day and go up on their pitched roof and remove snow or fix a skylight without taking any precautions whatsoever to protect against a fall. A simple step is to begin to raise awareness of the actual fatality numbers and to start to talk to employees about taking safety precautions on the road and at home just the same as they do at work. This content (safety 24/7) must be incorporated into every safety talk if a company is serious about reducing and preventing injuries at work.

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