Hurt On the Job? You Have a Right to a Safe Workplace

Millions of Americans tune into reality TV shows like Deadliest Catch and Big Timber for an inside look at the two most dangerous jobs in America: logging and commercial fishing.

And even though logging was America’s most deadly job in 2021 at 82.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, you don’t have to get tangled in a runaway fishing net or whacked by a falling tree to get hurt on the job. 

Every day, 14 Americans go to work and never come home. Every year, 2.6 million more suffer debilitating injuries. All workers deserve a safe workplace and yet, the number of fatal work injuries increased by nearly 9 percent from 2020 to 2021. According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2021. 

Most Workplace Deaths in 2021 Were Preventable

It’s bad enough that the number of fatal work injuries increased from 2020 to 2021. What’s worse: the National Safety Council estimates that 4,472 of the workplace deaths recorded in 2021 were preventable! 

It’s easy to assume that a common desk job may not invite much risk but the National Safety Council says not so fast. Some jobs naturally come with more risk but these industries were ranked as the most dangerous in 2021:

  • Construction: experienced the most workplace deaths
  • Education and health services: experienced the most nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: experienced the highest death rate per 100,000 workers
  • Transportation and warehousing: experienced the highest injury and illness rate involving days away from work per 10,000 workers

Ten Safety Tips Employees Can Implement Now

Workplace safety should be a top priority for all employers. And it goes without saying that employers, employees, health and safety professionals, and government officials must continue working together to keep workplace safety top of mind. 

There are things employees can implement to create a safer work environment for themselves and others. Start with these 10 safety tips:

  1. Be aware. Know the hazards particular to your workplace.
  2. Learn good posture. While at your desk, keep your shoulders in line with your hips. And use good form when lifting.
  3. Take regular breaks. Many work-related injuries occur when a worker is tired. Schedule tough tasks when refreshed.
  4. Don’t take shortcuts. Skipping proper procedures when using dangerous tools and machinery is the leading cause of workplace injuries.
  5. Keep emergency exits clear. And make it easy to reach emergency shutoffs.
  6. Report unsafe conditions to your supervisor. Don’t be shy if you see a workplace hazard. Your supervisors are legally obligated to ensure your safety.
  7. Use mechanical aids whenever possible. Don’t carry something heavy when you could use a wheelbarrow, conveyor belt, forklift, or other aid.
  8. Stay sober. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that alcohol use contributes to 18% of workplace injuries.
  9. Reduce stress. Stress can make it hard to concentrate.
  10. Wear proper safety equipment. Earplugs, hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, etc., significantly reduce the risk of workplace injury.

Every Employee Has the Right to a Safe Workplace

Under federal law, every employee has the right to a safe workplace. If you believe your workplace is dangerous, you can request an inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal agency. Click here for more information, including educational resources for both employees and employers.

Workers’ compensation, which is regulated on the state level, covers medical bills, lost wages, disability, and job retraining for employees injured on the job. If you are hurt at work, report your injury to your employer immediately. Then, contact your state workers’ comp office (list here) for additional guidance. 

If your employer doesn’t have work comp insurance or penalizes you for filing a claim (or the insurer denies your claim) and you wish to discuss the specifics of your case in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.