BLS: There Were 4,836 ‘Fatal Work Injuries’ in 2015

In its latest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2015.

This is a slight increase from the 4,821 recorded in 2014. It is the highest number since the 2008 figure of 5,214.

Highlights of the CFOI

Since 2014,

  • Roadway deaths increased nine percent and comprised over 25 percent of all deadly occupational injuries.
  • The number of suicides in the workplace dropped 18 percent
  • Workplace homicides rose two percent.
  • Fatalities in the private oil and gas extraction industry declined 38 percent.
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most injuries of all occupations with 745.

The CFOI presents safety data on race, age, and type of worker (self-employed or wage earners), among other indicators, and provides statistics on various occupations. State figures are also available.

Read the full report.

OSHA Issues Revised Final Rule on Beryllium

Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule that seeks to reduce employees’ exposure to beryllium, a substance that contributes to devastating lung diseases. The new standard covers general industry, construction, and shipyards.

According to OSHA, beryllium is harmful in the form of airborne beryllium dust, fume, or mist. It is a strong lightweight metal used in the aerospace, electronics, energy, telecommunication, medical and defense industries.

The majority of those at risk are employees in foundry and smelting operations, fabricating, machining, grinding beryllium metal and alloys, beryllium oxide ceramics manufacturing, and dental lab work. Also vulnerable are workers who handle fly ash residue from coal-burning, as well as abrasive blasters and their helpers in construction and shipyard work.

Heeding new research, the revised beryllium standard updates permissible exposure limits (PELs) of beryllium from two (2) micrograms per cubic meter to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter. Beyond that limit, the rule mandates the reduction of airborne concentration of beryllium through PPE, medical exams, [and] other medical surveillance and training. The rule also sets up a short-term exposure limit of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter over a 15-minute sampling period.

Published in The Federal Register, the new beryllium standard takes effect 60 days after publication (January 9, 2017). Compliance and enforcement of all provisions except for two start on March 12, 2018.

OSHA expects that the final rule will save 94 lives each year and help prevent 46 new cases of beryllium-related disease.

Download the final rule or read the OSHA press release.

CDC: Over 2 Million Americans May Have Work-Related Asthma

As many as 2.7 million U.S. workers may have asthma, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The finding is based on data from an ‘in-depth asthma survey’ conducted in and across various states and industries in 2013.

Highlights of the study:

  • Asthma was most prevalent in health care and social assistance employees.
  • Other industries with high asthma incidents were retail trade, which was the highest in 16 states and education.
  • Occupations that were most affected included sales and office and administrative support.

The study shows that asthma among U.S. employees could be caused by or exacerbated by workplace conditions.

Read the full study, including its methodology and limitations.

Lack of Sleep Costs US Economy

RAND Europe, a research institute, reports that inadequate sleep among U.S. workers is hurting employees’ health and harming productivity. It believes businesses are losing up to 1.23 million working days and $411 billion annually.

The RAND report compared the United States with Japan, Germany, the UK, and Canada. It also showed how sleep deprivation contributes to early death; for instance, an individual who gets, on average, fewer than six hours of sleep every night has a ten percent higher mortality risk.

Some of the recommendations included in the report are:

  • Set consistent wake-up times
  • Limit the use of electronic items before bedtime
  • Exercise

RAND also emphasizes that organizations should recognize the importance of sleep and the employer’s role in its promotion.

Read the full summary of the report.

OSHA White Paper Examines the Link Between Sustainability and Safety

‘Employers are only truly sustainable,’ states an OSHA white paper, ‘when they ensure the safety, health, and welfare of their workers.’

With Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began to identify opportunities to leverage the sustainability movement to promote worker safety and health.

As OSHA reports, worker safety and health is often left out of sustainability discussions. In contrast, by showing the links between safety and sustainability, the agency identifies the ways the protection of employees can be innovated and reimagined. These initiatives include:

  • Creating new partnerships to advance integrated occupational safety and health (OSH) and sustainability activities.
  • Enhancing interdisciplinary training and education for workers, the OSHA community, and business professionals.
  • Measuring the impact of safety and health performance on business outcomes.
  • Recognizing employers that successfully integrate OSHA into sustainability efforts.
  • Improving access to data on safety and health for sustainability reporting.

To produce the white paper, OSHA conducted over 80 dialogues with various stakeholders, and examined the literature in order to identify existing efforts, lessons, challenges, and possibilities in integrating safety and sustainability.

Download the white paper or read Dr. Michaels’ blog entry.

Six Checklists to Manage Musculoskeletal Disorders

The Department of Labor & Industries has published six checklists in order to pinpoint and help reduce employees’ vulnerability to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Checklists were made for the following industries:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Services
  • Wholesale and retail trade

The checklists educate employees on various physical causes of strains, pains, and injuries to various parts of the body.

View the checklists.

Get Safety Lessons from the Pilot Who Saved 155 Lives

Inspire your employees to be prepared for safety each and every day with the new Miracle on the Hudson Revisited: The Passengers’ Perspective training program, available on DVD, CoastalFlix℠ streaming video, or as an online course.

Featuring Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who saved 155 lives by completing a successful emergency landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, this program includes interviews with several passengers who recall those fateful minutes before and after take-off.

Along with Captain Sully’s 4 Cs — Competence, Compassion, Commitment and Communication — their stories can help your employees:

  • Value and strengthen everyday safety habits and practices
  • Promote safety through compassion
  • Develop a long-term commitment to everyone’s safety
  • Value the role of clear, efficient communication
  • Act decisively in a crisis and help save lives — their own and those of others.

Follow Captain Sully’s advice: incorporate the 4 Cs into your daily routine so that you can do a better job, create a safer workplace, and prepare yourself for whatever unexpected event life may throw at you.

Preview and purchase Miracle on the Hudson Revisited: The Passengers’ Perspective.

For FREE online previews visit To speak with an account representative, simply call 888-489-9776 or email Please be sure to give your name, facility name, address and phone number.

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