In the world of occupational safety and health, it’s easy to focus on hazards and disasters. After all, workplace injuries or fatalities affect hundreds of thousands of Californians and their families every year. Preventing and reducing these incidents is very important. But it is also good to know that the efforts of employers and workers across the state have made a significant difference.
This month, the Department of Industrial Relations posted the occupational illness and injury data from 2014. According to the survey results, rates of reportable workplace accidents and illnesses remain at a 13 year low. This holds true across all categories of lost work-time cases (incidents resulting in time lost from work, transfer, or restricted duty).
Quick Statistics for 2014
- There were 460,000 reportable injury and illness cases
- 265,000 involved lost work-time
- 140,000 resulted in days away from work
- 25,840 involved local government workers including over 3000 in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector.
Risk Factors for Workers
- Latino workers continue to face disproportionate risks at work, accounting for almost 60% of days away from work. In jobs involving construction activities, 75% of injured workers who lost work days were Latino.
- Teenagers and new workers (those on the job less than a year) are at particularly high risk for accidents.
- Sprains, strains, and tears remain the leading causes of lost work-time.
- Overexertion, adverse reactions to substances at work, slip & falls accidents, and equipment-related injuries are common.
Progress Can Still Be Made
The continuing reduction of workplace illness and injury is cause for hope. It clearly demonstrates that making positive changes in safety programs has a real effect on outcomes. Paying close attention to the factors involved in accidents and illnesses for at-risk groups and activities allows employers to identify hazards and adjust their workplace program accordingly. This is an ongoing process that can and should continue to be refined each year.
With 2016 approaching, it’s a great time for a review of your safety program. With your participation, DKF is dedicated to making each year safer than the one before. If your organization hasn’t yet scheduled a consultation, we encourage you to contact us today.