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Businesses must adapt as standards change

The number of claims being filed surrounding workplace injuries or illnesses has improved but businesses still find themselves spending billions of dollars due to preventable injuries and illnesses all across the country, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Annually, roughly 4,000 Americans die each year due to workplace injuries and 50,000 Americans die because of workplace exposure that causes illnesses.

The number of injuries and illnesses each year cost the economy of the United States just under $200 billion per year. The complaints that are recorded by OSHA are reported by both employees and employers. Employees typically report their own injuries, while some employers will report the more serious injuries, such as amputations or death.

Region V for OSHA encompasses Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio. In this region, the top three causes of workplace fatalities include workers being struck by something, workers getting caught in something and falls. Between 2004 and 2016, these three causes led to 1,268 deaths, or 80 percent of all deaths.

OSHA recommends that companies perform a thorough review of the hazards present and how they can better keep employees safe on the job. This review should begin with determining which standards set forth by OSHA apply to each individual business.

Some recent changes made by OSHA include the following:

  • Updated and increased requirements for scaffolding
  • Fall protection for employers
  • Inspections of permanent anchor systems

Workplace injuries and illnesses are still a common problem all across Wisconsin and the rest of the country. You need to take every precaution necessary to stay safe while on the job so you do not become a statistic.

Source: The Business Journal, "As OSHA Rules Change, Employers Must Plan Ahead," April 19, 2018

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