Monday, February 1, 2010

Workplace Death Declines!

There is so rarely good news on Bad Lawyer, that I feel compelled to pass along this bit of great news, from the Denver Post which reports that workplace death is declining.  Here's the story and it's Coloradoan- twist by David Ohlinger: 

"The workplace is becoming a safer place.  Nationwide, 5,071 people were fatally injured at work in 2008, the lowest total since the yearly census of fatal occupational injuries was first conducted in 1992.  Colorado workplace deaths also dropped, to 102 in 2008 from 126 in 2007, tying the lowest death toll in a decade. The most dangerous place to work: on the road.  Twenty-nine percent of all workplace deaths in Colorado and 23 percent nationwide were classified as highway incidents in the yearly Bureau of Labor Statistics report.  Of 30 worker deaths on Colorado highways, more than half occurred when vehicles jackknifed or overturned, and five others were attributed to vehicles striking objects on the side of the road.  At the Colorado Department of Transportation, nearly 60 employees have died in the line of duty since 1929. Twenty-two were in cone zones, including Paul Forster and Eladio Lopez, both killed by a drunken student going the wrong way on Interstate 25.  CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said there have been no recent cone-zone deaths, and the department now halts work on site to discuss safety concerns 'every time there is a close call.'  A new law enables the department to set up photo-radar equipment in construction zones, and 'we're working with the state patrol right now to implement that program,' she said. In 2008, nearly 40 percent of those who died on the job in Colorado were truck drivers or construction trades workers. There were no workplace deaths in either the financial activities or information sectors of the economy.

After transportation-related deaths, the most common causes were fatal contacts with equipment or other objects; assaults and violent acts; falls; and exposures to hazardous substances, including electricity. Nationwide, the numbers of workplace murders have dropped by half since 1992.  There were 517 in 2008, the lowest number to date.  In Colorado, workplace murders also declined to seven in 2008. Six other workers killed themselves."
There are a number of factors when thinking about this information.  As the article notes there are no deaths in the financial or information sectors.  The entire American economy is less manufacturing and construction based;  and, more service and information based.  Common place safety practices doubtlessly play a role.   The 50% drop in workplace murders tells me that practices put in place by employers to deal with alcohol and drug free workplaces pays a tremendous dividend.

See the Bad Laywer can recognize a good news story when he sees one!  There's hope.

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