- Workplace injury significantly raises a person's risk of overdose death or suicide, according to a study co-authored by Boston University researchers and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. To estimate the association between workplace injury and death, researchers looked at 100,806 workers in New Mexico — 36,034 of whom had lost-time injuries from 1994 through 2000 — and used data that included workers' compensation, Social Security Administration earnings and mortality data through 2013, Boston University said in a post. Researchers also looked at the National Death Index's cause of death data through 2017.
- An injury serious enough to trigger at least one week off from work almost tripled the combined risk of suicide and overdose death among women and increased the risk by 50% among men, researchers said. They found that men with a past lost-time injury were 72% more likely to die from suicide and 29% more likely to die from drug-related causes. Women with lost-time injuries were 92% more likely to die from suicide and 193% more likely to die from drug-related causes, according to researchers.
- "Improved pain treatment, better treatment of substance use disorders, and treatment of post-injury depression may substantially reduce mortality consequent to workplace injuries," senior author Leslie Boden told Boston University.
OSHA publishes a yearly list of the top 10 most frequent workplace safety violations. "[I]f all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline," OSHA has said. The agency recommends that employers view the list as a starting point for workplace safety.
Here's OSHA's Top 10 list for fiscal year 2018:
- Fall protection, construction
- Hazard communication standard, general industry
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
- Respiratory protection, general industry
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
- Ladders, construction
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry
- Fall protection — training requirements
- Machinery and machine guarding, general requirements
- Eye and face protection
To help employers keep their workers safe, OSHA provides numerous resources, including an on-site consultation program that provides free, confidential compliance assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses. OSHA has said the consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not create an increased likelihood of penalties or citations for employers.
Another resource is the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, which offer courses for workers, employers and managers on hazard recognition and abatement at locations nationwide.
Experts have previously told our sister publication, HR Dive, that developing a workplace safety program involves more than providing safety training, materials and equipment to employees, and that cultivating a culture of workplace safety is essential to achieving a "zero incident workplace."