More than half the country scored a quotDquot or lower in the National Safety Council39s recent The State of Safety report

No Easy A’s for States When It Comes to Safety

June 27, 2017
A report from the National Safety Council determined that no state deserves an “A” for safety.

With accidental deaths at an all-time high, states must adopt stronger safety practices to combat the public health crisis, according to the National Safety Council (NSC) in its new report, The State of Safety.

The State of Safety details state-by-state issues in a first-of-its-kind comprehensive assessment of how well Americans are protected from risk. No state goes far enough to protect its residents from leading causes of preventable deaths and injuries – commonly known as “accidents” – on the road, in homes and communities and at work, says NSC. Despite preventable deaths being at an all-time high, none of the 50 states or Washington, D.C., earned an “A” for overall safety.

“The cultural novocaine has to wear off,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman.  “Safety is no accident. We lose more than 140,000 people because of events we know how to prevent. This report provides states with a blueprint for saving lives, and we hope lawmakers, civic leaders, public health professionals and safety advocates use it to make their communities measurably safer.”

Seven states – Maryland, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Connecticut, California and Washington – as well as Washington, D.C. received a “B” overall. Eleven states received an “F.” Those states and their overall ranking are: Kansas (#41), Oklahoma (#42), Arkansas (#43), Arizona (#44), South Carolina (#45), South Dakota (#46), Montana (#47), Wyoming (#48), Mississippi (#49), Idaho (#50) and Missouri (#51).

The report wraps up National Safety Month, observed each June to draw attention to eliminating preventable deaths. Fatalities from poisonings – including drug overdoses – motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, choking and fires have increased 7 percent since 2014, claiming 146,571 lives each year.

 The State of Safety assessed states’ safety efforts by examining laws, policies and regulations around issues that lead to the most preventable deaths and injuries. In addition to receiving an overall grade, states earned grades in three different sections: Road Safety, Home and Community Safety and Workplace Safety. States were given “On Track,” “Developing” and “Off Track” distinctions in all three sections’ safety issues.

The five highest-scoring states for road safety are Illinois, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Delaware and Maine. The lowest scoring states for road safety are Wyoming, Arizona, Missouri, South Dakota and Montana. The five highest-scoring states for home and community safety are Maryland, Connecticut, California, New Mexico and Massachusetts. The five lowest-scoring states in that category are Utah, Missouri, Idaho, South Carolina and Mississippi.

The criteria for grading workplace safety included prevention, preparedness and enforcement; workers’ compensation; and worker health and wellbeing. The states that scored the highest for workplace safety included Illinois, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. The states that scored the lowest for workplace safety included Missouri (#47 – 104 workplace fatalities), South Dakota (#48 – 18 workplace fatalities), Idaho (#49 – 36 workplace fatalities), Wyoming (#50 – 31 workplace fatalities) and Kansas (#51 – 56 workplace fatalities).

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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