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Study Links Increase in Workplace Injury and Death to Increased Workplace Pressure

Deaths from workplace injuries appear to be on the rise, according to a late 2016 release from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2015, the last released date for such statistics, 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded, which was the highest number since 2008 and higher than the prior years. Both workers and employers alike need to understand what is contributing to these deaths, so that they can take measures to keep their workplaces and workers safe.

Workplace Pressure Increase Risk for Injury or Death

In a recent study published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, researchers found a correlation between workplace deaths and other serious injuries with pressures to meet earnings expectations. It appears from the study that the more pressure is placed on a workplace, the greater the chances are that there will be a serious issue involving workers as a result due to overlooked workplace safety.

In the study, researchers looked at over 860 firms in a variety of industries, focusing on companies that met or barely beat their earnings expectations. The researchers found that those firms had a much higher rate of workplace safety incidents, with rates 5 to 15% higher than those firms that completely miss or clearly beat their forecasted earnings. Several reasons and risk factors were also found that contributed to this statistic.

High Workload Leads to Less Safety

One reason for this increased risk is the high workload placed on workers during those times when they are pushing to meet a goal. When workers are asked to work longer or harder, they get tired. Tired, overexerted workers are more likely to ignore safety protocols, because safety protocols take time away from what they’re trying to accomplish. This can make the risk of workplace death higher.

Managers More Likely to overlook Safety Measures

In addition, when trying to meet a benchmark, managers may be more likely to overlook safety protocols to help save money and time. For example, they may not perform maintenance on large equipment because of the cost involved, or they may skip critical employee training in an effort to get employees on the floor more quickly. All of this adds up to an increased risk for serious injury.

Additional Factors Contribute to Higher Workplace Injury Statistics

In addition to these two major factors, the study found some additional factors that could lead to high risk for workplace injury. One of those factors was a lack of union. Unions help fight for safety for workers, and in firms that didn’t have a unionized workforce, the risk of death was higher.

Low workers compensation insurance premiums also contributed to the risk. The higher the cost for workers’ compensation, the better attention the firms paid to keeping workers safe. In fact, high workers’ compensation premiums reduced the risk of injury by 5% on average.

What does this mean for the worker or manager? It means that those times when pressure is high to perform well are times when workers and managers need to be more vigilant about protecting their workplace, not less. These are times when workplace death is a very high risk, so these are times when safety protocols must be strictly enforced. Managers also need to be aware of the costs of overlooking safety protocols, which can include fines from OSHA, increased workers’ compensation premiums and, of course, lost time and productivity when workers are injured or killed. With better attention to safety, even in these challenging times, companies can keep their most important assets, their workforces, safer.

Pedestrian Deaths Highest in Two Decades

The benefits of walking are almost too numerous to count. The health aspect is one: walking burns calories, exercises muscles and acts as good cardio. It’s safe for the environment: an automobile runs on gas, is made of metal made in plants and spews carbon dioxide. It’s social: walking gives an individual more time to take stock of the surrounding environment, to socialize and to relax. Even more, it saves money: the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates on average it costs $8,558 to operate a car annually. However, despite the upside to walking, according to recent reports, walking has become something else in the last year: more dangerous.

Massive Jump in Fatalities

The Governors’ Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) reported in March that fatalities to pedestrians increased more than 33 percent in Connecticut in 2016 compared to 2015. Statistics show that in 2015, 21 pedestrians were killed between January and June; during the same period in 2016, the number jumped to 28. Nationally, pedestrian fatalities increased from 5,736 in 2015 to 5,997 in 2016, and increased by 25 percent from 2010 to 2015, while total traffic fatalities increased by only six percent.

The statistics in the report show that 74 percent of the accidents occurred after dark, compared to 23 percent in the daytime and four percent at dawn and dusk. More than 72 percent of the accidents occurred in travel lanes, while 18 percent occurred in intersections and 10 percent occurred in non-travel lanes, including shoulders and driveways.

Five Fatalities in One Day

The issue became prominent in Connecticut last December as the state experienced five pedestrian deaths in one day. According to the Hartford Courant Newspaper, on December 2, 2016, two individuals were hit while outside their vehicles on major interstates, and two individuals on skateboards and one delivering newspapers were killed.

New Haven not Immune

The New Haven Register reports on specific cases that have occurred in the city, citing research from the University of Connecticut which shows that in this state last year there were more than 1,402 pedestrian-related crashes, including 215 in New Haven, two of which were fatal.

Factors

According to GHSA, several factors may have contributed to the uptick in pedestrian deaths. Among them are lower fuel prices, which have increased traffic on the roads, and more people out walking. The use of smart phones by both pedestrians and drivers is felt to be a key factor.

Prevention is Key

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers several tips to increase safety while walking. They include wearing bright, reflective clothing; carrying a flashlight at night; walking on the sidewalk if possible, and if not, walking facing traffic; looking before crossing the street; and obeying signs.

According to GHSA, the spike in pedestrian deaths also spurred the state of Connecticut to take action. In addition to television and radio spots created by the state police to raise awareness of pedestrian safety, road safety audits are scheduled to take place statewide to look for problem areas for pedestrians, and rumble strips are being constructed on several highways.

The Law Firm of Ronald M. Scherban has over 40 years of pursuing personal injury cases. Practicing from offices in New Haven, the firm has the knowledge, experience and resources to serve your legal needs. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact us today and let us help. For questions or a free evaluation, contact us online or call us at 203.865.6414. The evaluation is free and you pay no out-of-pocket expenses until your case is closed.

New Burn Injury Treatment Options

Each year around 265,000 people are killed across the globe as a result of burns, and thousands of others are injured or disabled. In fact, as many as 11 million people across the world are burned each year to the point that they need medical attention, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, around 486,000 people will require medical attention from severe burn injuries each year, according to the American Burn Association, with 40,000 of those resulting in hospitalization.

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Will Self Driving Cars Cause More Accidents?

With several manufacturers already testing this concept on the open road, self-driving cars are sure to become more popular in the future. At first glance, it may seem like having a self-driving car would reduce the risk of accidents by eliminating driver error, which is a common cause of crashes. However, studies have shown that the opposite is actually true. Even though self-driving cars are less likely to be the cause of an accident, they are more likely to be involved in one.

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