In a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of deaths at work is not decreasing, raising concerns about worker safety. With improvements in technology and safety standards, it is hoped that this number would decrease over time in the United States, including Alabama. These disappointing numbers have caused concern that many industries and employers are not doing enough to improve and ensure worker safety.
Many of these job-related deaths could have been prevented by simply following safety standards and protocols. Complying with the OSHA would largely improve worker safety, making many of the 4600 deaths preventable. Tragically, with such high numbers of work related deaths, it can be assumed that the number of work related injuries have increased also, even in Alabama.
Some organizations that monitor worker safety claim that these deaths stem from an emphasis on financial gain rather than the safety of the employees. Most of these work related deaths are white males that are involved in transportation related accidents, including car accidents. There are several industries that are more dangerous than others, including agriculture, forestry, and jobs that require physical labor in outdoor environments.
There is legislation being proposed that would increase the amount of penalties against companies that are found disregarding worker safety. This would include any blatant and obvious disregard for regulations and safety protocols. It is hoped that this would encourage employers to be more concerned with the safety of their employees.
Worker safety is of utmost importance and when that is disregarded by an employer, it opens the door for legal repercussions and workers' compensation claims. Those who are injured or become ill on the job are typically entitled to claim these important state-regulated insurance benefits. As other penalties increase for these employers, it is hoped that worker safety would increase also. Stricter penalties may mean safer workplaces.
Source: Alabama Public Radio, "On-The-Job Deaths Continue At Steady, Grim Pace," Howard Berkes, April 26, 2013