Workplace Safety Andrew J.Burns CIS 111 Section 043 University of Kentucky Bad things happen to millions of people every single day.It could be physical, emotional, financial, psychological; sometimes permanent damage is done, sometimes the damage can be fixed.
Sadly, millions of people are permanently wounded at their work yearly in the United States, and thousands of those people will die because of that incident. Imagine how your loved ones would feel if they received word that you had been killed on the job.
Imagine being permanently injured from your work because someone didn’t care enough to test and make sure your position was safe, and losing your ability to hear, see, or move properly, or if one of these things happened to one of your own loved ones. You might think this is unlikely, but it happens quite regularly, and to a great number of people. As I said before, tons of people everywhere are affected by work related safety issues, and it is a big deal. Surveys are taken every year to calculate how many injuries and deaths occur in the United States due to safety problems at the workplace.
The survey taken in 2011 revealed that 4609 work related fatalities occurred that year (U. S. Department of Labor). Hilda Solis, the United States Secretary of Labor, stated that “Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a work place injury from which some may never recover. ” Those are huge numbers, and should definitely not go unnoticed by the public. I witnessed first-hand the unsafe environment of working in a factory for a few months.
While I was working there, there were tons of forklifts always driving around the factory at pretty fast speeds, and if you weren’t paying attention, you could easily get hit by one. They also put out a large amount of emissions. As soon as you walked into the factory, you could instantly smell their emissions, and there’s no way they were good for the lungs, especially if you have to work there year round like the regular employees. Complicated, unguarded machines were another major hazard. There were many machines at the factory making plastic and styrofoam that could easily burn you if you just barely touched it.
One of the guys I worked with accidentally brushed his arm up against one of the ovens melting plastic and he was burned really badly. His skin bubbled up right after and it later left a nasty scar on his arm. Also, with the factory being in a closed space, the sound waves that the machines produced would have no efficient way of leaving the building, rendering you very vulnerable to permanent hearing loss. According to the Department of Health, “Excessive noise levels over a long period of time will gradually and painlessly permanently damage your hearing. It was for sure as loud, if not louder than heavy traffic in there. I’m convinced I lost a little of my hearing from just working there in the summer. I find myself saying “what? ” a lot more to people now. Also, don’t count yourself out just because you think you work in a safe are behind a desk all day. Unnoticeable things like loud A/C units and certain emissions from various materials in the room can still cause significant health problems if exposed to them over enough time. A perfect example of this would be the infamous asbestos issue.
Asbestos is a mineral that was used in making insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall, and things of that nature. Before it was banned in 1980, businesses and builders used it heavily in the materials they used (Garcia). Little did people know that fibers would break off of the asbestos and would eventually be inhaled by the people working in the building. Eventually, this would lead to be a major cause of lung cancer across the nation. Asbestos was not rigorously inspected and tested enough before it was put in use. Consider the common things we use nowadays that we think are completely harmless.
These things could be messing our bodies up pretty badly without us even knowing it, only to discover decades later that is was a significant factor in putting us on our death beds. These problems given to people caused by the workplace affect everyone around them, too, not only them. You may have not been close to the injured or killed worker, but they impact the entire society as a whole. “What happens to the coal miner or construction or steel worker is very much in the public’s interest. When a worker is hurt or killed, all of us all of us end up paying part of the bill through higher product prices and increased taxes.
More importantly, we lose because society fails to receive a full return on its investment in the lives of people it has schooled and prepared for work” (Kinney 46) . The entire public ends up paying the raised taxes that have resulted from inflating workers’ compensation. All of that money could be going to so many other things that could be helping our economy, but instead we are paying a large price for the lazy safety inspectors and regulation writers in the United States. People’s safety should be highly regarded, especially when they’re working for that company.
It seems like a lot could be done to increase the safety of workplaces. It’s obvious that job safety regulations aren’t being enforced, and many bad accidents could be easily avoided with just a few adjustments. Despite the statistics and dangers, I did come out in one piece. However, I did witness many other people get hurt around me, and I could’ve just as easily been in their position. Something needs to be done to better protect the hard workers of the United States. References Garcia, A. III. (2009, October 15). End Date for Asbestos. Constructiondeal. com.
Retrieved February 11, 2013 from http://www. constructiondeal. com/blogs/is-1980-an-appropriate- end-date-for-asbestos-use. 258. Kinney, J. A. (1991, May 21). Why should we Care about Job Safety? USA Today. Social Sciences Premium Collection. Retrieved February 11, 2013 from http://search. proquest. com/docview/214620137. OSHA. (2011). Commonly Used Statistics. US Department of Labor. Retrieved February 12, 2013 from http://www. osha. gov/oshstats/commonstats. html. US Dept. of Health. (November, 2011). Workplace Safety – Noise Pollution. US Department of Health.
Retrieved February 11, 2013 from http://www. betterhealth. vic. gov. au/bhcv2/bhcarticles. nsf/pages/Workplace_safety_noise_ pollution. Annotated Bibliography Annual Statistical Supplement. (2011). Workers’ Compensation Program and Legislative History. United States Social Security Administration. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from http://www. ssa. gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2011/workerscomp. html. I checked out this site to see what kind of damage had been done to our economy from workers’ compensation. It turns out that in 2009 124. million employees were claimed injured on the job and were covered by workers’ compensation. The overall wages it took to cover these workers was 5. 7 trillion dollars. Kinney, J. A. (1991, May 21). Why should we Care about Job Safety? USA Today. Social Sciences Premium Collection. Retrieved February 11, 2013 from http://search. proquest. com/docview/214620137. Even though this article was old, it still made a lot of sense with how society works and what happens when an employee is killed on the job. He goes in detail about how the economy pays greatly when an employee is lost.
I thought it was interesting where he talks about how the biggest issue when losing an employee was that society fails to receive a refund. Tidwell, A. (2003, July 12). Ethics, Safety and Managers. Business and Professional Ethics Journal. Retrieved February 11, 2013 from http://www. jstor. org/stable/27801233? seq=5. Tidwell goes into depth on how to solve the problem of workplace deaths and accidents. He created a list of simple and cost-free objectives a company could follow to greatly reduce accidents. Since money is the main concern when increasing the safety of something, these guidelines could be incredibly useful
Watson, G. W. (2005, May 2). Dimensions of Interpersonal Relationships and Safety in the Steel Industry. Journal of Business and Psychology. Retrieved February 10, 2013 from http://www. jstor. org/stable/25092904. Watson writes about how work related accidents are a growing issue with newer, more dangerous technologies. He also notes that the greatest danger to employees are the employees themselves. He says that employees aren’t being trained the way they should, and are creating a very unsafe environment for themselves and their co-workers. Widjaya, I. (November 22, 2012).
Most Common Work Related Accidents. Global Legal Resources. Retrieved February 9, 2013 from http://bx. businessweek. com/workplace- safety/view? url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww. noobpreneur. com%2F2012%2F11%2F22%2Fto p-ten-work-related-accidents%2F In this article, the most common work related accidents are described. The first few are actually just accidents caused by the employees themselves, like overexertion. Then the later ones seem to be more equipment and machine related. Both can definitely be prevented by better job training and more thorough equipment inspections though.