April 29, 2019

Let’s Talk About Safety

By Paul Bieber

Disability payments by all industries cost roughly $1 billion per week in the U.S. Although the way most people see it is that it always happens to the other guy in some other industry. You run a clean shop and make sure people wear their gloves and safety glasses. What do you need to do? Well, Liberty Mutual Insurance, in my estimation the most learned and dependable voice in Worker’s Comp, has just published its annual survey of U.S. disabling accidents. Here is where and how the accidents with the highest injury rates and costs occur:

  1. Overexertion involving outside sources. This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding or carrying. Cost: $13.1 billion.
  2. Falls on the same floor level. This may include slipping on a wet floor. Cost: $10.4 billion.
  3. Struck by object or equipment including falling objects from above. Cost: $5.2 billion.
  4. Falls to a lower level from a ladder or platform. Cost: $4.9 billion.
  5. Other exertions or bodily reactions from activities. These may include crawling, reaching, bending, twisting, climbing, kneeling or walking. Cost: $3.7 billion.
  6. Roadway incidents involving a motorized land vehicle. Cost: $2.7 billion.
  7. Slip or trip without fall. This may include tripping over an object but not falling to the ground. Cost: $2.2 billion.
  8. Caught in or compressed by equipment or an object. This may include becoming caught in rollers or gears. Cost: $1.9 billion.
  9. Repetitive motions involving microtasks. Working on an assembly line is often a cause of this injury. Cost: $1.63 billion.
  10. Struck against an object or equipment. This may include walking into a door or drawer. Cost: $1.2 billion.

All these categories encompass our industry. Think about it. Maybe one company isn’t impacted by all ten, but I’ll bet that every reader of this blog would fall into at least six or seven of these categories in their day-to-day operations.

I have done safety inspections at companies and the absolute most obvious points are not visible to the people in the company. That extension cord has been there for years and everyone knows where it is. How can that be an accident waiting to happen? Except to a new employee, a delivery person or someone who is walking around screaming into their cell phone.

I promise that you cannot see safety problems in your own company. It is like refrigerator blindness when you are looking for the mayonnaise. Call me at 603-242-3521 and I’ll share some tips with you on how to do a safety walk-through at your place.