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When workplace safety is a core value only sometimes

Look at a graph of reported work-related deaths in Colorado and you will see a line that is inching up. The most recent data available from the government confirms that 81 people died on the job in Colorado in 2016. That compares with 75 the year before. Most were due to transportation-related accidents. Deaths in the construction industry decreased by 43 percent compared to the toll in 2015. Still, 12 deaths were recorded.

Another report from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Colorado is not alone when it comes to the upward track. Nationally, workplace deaths rose 7 percent in 2016. A spokesman for the National Safety Council calls the news disappointing and disheartening. Unfortunately, it is not surprising. The numbers have been going up for some time and as the NSC official says, "they're starting to spiral up, up and up."

What this means

According to the NSC, what the data continues to reinforce is that employers are not doing enough to ensure that attention workplace safety is actually a core value of any company's culture, rather than an afterthought – easily set aside when demands press for increased production. To that end, experts recommend:

  • Programs that engage workers in consistent focus on safety, rather than "sound nice" wellness opportunities
  • Establishing special employee teams to continually monitor potential injury risk factors on site and execute plans to reduce them
  • Making sure that the message of safety as a core value is carried throughout the workforce – from the CEO on down through supervisors and to the front line
  • Ensuring that reporting all accidents, even minor ones or near ones, is encouraged so that hazards are more easily identified

All workers, whether they are in the construction trades, an office setting, or on the road, face the danger of being hurt on the job every day. Workers' compensation is required to provide injured workers with the financial support they need to recover or survive without judgment. To be sure of receiving the fullest measure of benefits, consult a skilled attorney when you are injured on the job.

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