On the heels of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) announcement that 4,609 American employees died from work-related injuries in 2011, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE) is asking one question: “Where’s the concern?”
While the preliminary BLS data reveals that workplace fatalities declined slightly in 2011 compared to the 4,690 workers who died in 2010, the numbers indicate that an average of 13 people die from on-the-job injuries every day across the nation. According to ASSE, that’s far too many. ASSE President Richard A. Pollock, CSP, called this rate of workplace fatalities “alarming” and “unacceptable.”
“These incidents can be prevented. We urge all companies and organizations to take measures now to make sure they have developed and implemented management systems of control that include effective occupational safety and health programs aimed at preventing worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses,” Pollack said. “Remember, these are 4,609 people who left for work in the morning and never returned home to their families.”
Pollack stressed that effective management systems can help identify safety and health issues before they result in injury. Appropriate prevention strategies can protect workers across all industries. And while safety and health professionals obviously play a large role in protecting the American work force, Pollack suggested that the safety of U.S. workers should be a concern shared by many.
“The work of SH&E professionals is fundamental to organizational success as we assess business risk, establish prevention strategies, help increase productivity, reduce costs and increase value for all stakeholders,” Pollack said. “We urge others to recognize and be concerned about the high number of worker fatalities in our country and the resulting impact on families, employers and communities.”