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The real costs of workplace injuries can be hidden

While many companies in Connecticut prominently declare a commitment to workplace safety, the reality is that an unnecessarily large number of accidents and injuries continue to befall workers on the job. Some companies almost consider worker injuries to be a cost of doing business, even when those costs can be substantial. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration can fine a company $129,336 if willful neglect of safety standards leads to an accident. However, the standard for proving such a level of negligence can be quite high and often difficult for the agency to meet.

Some of the largest corporations in the country have troubling rates of workplace safety incidents. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, a workers' rights advocacy group independent of the government, issues an annual list of companies that it identifies as most dangerous to workers. For example, seven workers at Amazon warehouses have lost their lives on the job since 2013. Major poultry-processing company Case Farms has received roughly 74 OSHA citations per 1,000 employees, a rate that is over four times higher than any other firm, even in the notoriously dangerous poultry packing business.

100 deadliest days of the year started on Memorial Day

Everyone who drives on the roads expects that they will arrive at their destinations safely. When there are unsafe drivers on the road, they pose a risk to everyone who is out. It might interest some people to know that Memorial Day kicked off what is dubbed the "100 deadliest days" for teen drivers.

Newly-licensed teens, even those who have been driving for a couple of years, are more likely to be involved in accidents during this 100-day period. This is because school is out so more of these drivers are on the roads. It is up to parents to minimize the risks that their teens take on the roads.

Watching out for falls at work.

For decades, the slip and fall has been a tried and true sight gag in television and movies. But any worker in Connecticut who has been injured in a fall will attest that there is nothing humorous about the situation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, more than a quarter of a million workers suffered injuries due to falls that led to at least one day of missed work. More than 700 deaths occurred due to falls, with the majority considered "same level falls," as opposed to a fall from one height to another.

Internet of Things tech improves workplace safety

Workplace fatalities and injuries are a huge problem in Connecticut and around the world. In fact, the International Labor Organization reports that 151 workers suffer some sort of on-the-job injury every 15 seconds worldwide. Meanwhile, 321,000 people lose their lives in work-related accidents each year.

To address this issue, businesses are turning to the Internet of Things, or IoT, technology to help them protect workers. IoT technology uses connected devices to monitor the health and safety of workers. It is also used to track the safety of work environments and equipment.

Truck accident injuries and fatalities rising

As fatal accidents continue to rise on the roadways in Connecticut and across the United States, getting behind the wheel can be a major concern for drivers and passengers. While collisions of all types are on an upswing across the country, one of the most concerning types of crashes is those that involve large trucks. The size and mass of these huge vehicles can cause major damage to cars, trucks, pedestrians and cyclists who experience an accident. In addition, statistics show that fatalities are increasing across the country in crashes that involve large trucks and buses, a reverse of an earlier downward trend.

While fatal trucking accidents decreased by 34 percent between 2005 and 2009, they have increased by 28 percent between 2009 and 2016. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of deadly crashes that involved large trucks and buses grew by 3 percent between 2015 and 2016 alone. A report by the FMCSA noted that there were 4,213 trucks and buses involved in deadly collisions in 2016 while only 4,074 trucks were involved in fatalities in 2015. In addition, the number of fatalities rose by over 220 in the same year.

CVSA to crack down on unsafe driving June 15 to 21

Connecticut drivers of commercial trucks and passenger vehicles alike should be aware that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will soon be holding its annual Operation Safe Driver Week. It has been scheduled for June 15 to 21. During this week, the CVSA will be joining with law enforcement nationwide to intensify its targeting of unsafe drivers.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, unsafe driving is the No. 1 cause of highway accidents. In particular, it is the cause of 88 percent of all large truck crashes and 93 of crashes involving passenger vehicles. The purpose of the Operation Safe Driver Program is to reduce the number of these accidents.

Ladder safety must be a priority for construction sites

There are many jobs at a construction site that require individuals to work above ground level. Ladders, lifts and scaffolds can all be used to get them to higher areas. It is important that workers understand proper safety procedures when they are working on these pieces of equipment.

While there is some added stability for lifts and scaffolds, this isn't the case for ladders. All workers should make sure that they are familiar with proper ladder usage so that they can remain safe while they are at work. Falls are the number one killer of construction workers, so corners should not be cut at worksites.

Was my gym injury due to negligence?

When you get hurt in the gym, it can be extremely frustrating and disheartening. It's not only because you likely will suffer ongoing pain, have to take unpaid leave from work and deal with unforeseen medical bills, but also because you will delay your workout goals.

Gym injuries can happen because you overexerted yourself while lifting weights or if you were careless with the equipment. In these cases, the responsibility for the resulting injuries will probably lie with you, and therefore you will not have a personal injury claim. However, the injury could possibly have been caused due to the negligent actions of the gym owners and their employees.

Truck fleets turn to technology to reduce distracted driving

Commercial trucking fleets in Connecticut have many products to choose from when they want to monitor truck drivers and alert them to potential dangers. Although technology like GPS units and smartphones distract drivers, specialty monitoring systems in truck cabs can detect warning signs and alert drivers or fleet managers to take corrective action.

For example, Omnitracs watches for hard breaking, abnormal acceleration and sudden variations in work hours. This data produces an accident prediction score. According to the company, over 1,000 variables contribute to its prediction of driver distraction and accident likelihood. Similarly, Zendrive collects data from drivers' smartphones to warn fleet managers and insurers to potential accident risks. Managers can use information gathered from monitoring systems to coach their drivers.

Five tips for safety-minded employers

Creating a safety-minded culture in the workplace is often difficult. Connecticut employers and employees can both get caught up in the fast pace of work and ignore safety guidelines in their efforts to meet deadlines. This only leads to more injuries, less productivity and higher medical expenses and workers' compensation costs. Persistently bad performance may also increase turnover rates and tarnish the company's image.

This is where five safety tips can help employers, site managers and safety coaches who want to turn the situation around. The first tip is to start from the top. Employers must champion safety themselves before they start organizing their efforts. They can then conduct an anonymous survey to measure employees' knowledge of corporate guidelines and expectations and opinions of current safety.

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