On January 1st, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) made it a legal requirement that all employers within the United States report every severe work-related injury that occurs within 24 hours. This is meant to help track the occurrence of serious injuries among job sites and establish benchmarks for safety across the nation.
Previously, it was tough to pull together accurate safety information for the millions of active worksites across the nation. With this new regulation in place, OSHA can now accurately track negative trends among specific workplaces and proactively intervene before severe injuries become a trend of fatalities.
As the map above shows, the most reports of severe injuries for the last 16 months come from the states of Texas(2121), Florida(1249), Pennslyvania(1045), Ohio(980), and Illinois(813).
When looking to find similarities among the 5 most "severe states", you have to look past geography. You have to begin to look at the economics of these states, and what industries are booming within these territories.
Dodge Data & Analytics' 2016 Construction Outlook report predicted a 6% growth in the Construction industry, increasing the market cap to around $712 billion dollars. States like Texas and Illinois are currently going through huge construction booms, which means more jobs and more people with the potential to get injured in this high-risk industry. For example, Houston is slated for over $5 billion dollars worth of construction projects in just the Healthcare industry alone. Whereas in Chicago, over $2 billion dollars worth of public works projects were slated for 2016. Add-in that the average wage for a construction worker in Chicago being an average of $66,000 dollars according to OSHA, a ton of labor is attracted to the state of Illinois.
For states like Pennslyvania and Ohio, the Manufacturing industry is the major driver of the economy. According to Cleveland.com, manufacturing contributed $99.9 billion to Ohio's gross product in 2014 while Pennslyvania currently has the United State's 8th largest output in this industry.
Breaking Down the Facts
Now, it may seem like a sarcastic statement to say "More Construction = More Labor = More Injuries", but the statement is not too far off. When David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, broke down the 2015 severe injury data in his "Year One Impact Evaluation" report, both Manufacturing and Construction combined for 45% of all severe injury reports. This directly correlates to the economic factors that have caused states like Texas to become hotbeds for serious injuries. It also shows us where organizations like OSHA need to focus their time and resources to better ensure that employers are properly training and equipping their personnel with the right safety equipment.
OSHA has done a great job of holding companies more accountable for safety reporting and creating a system where they can begin to proactively track and react to hazardous trends before they get out of control. But safety cannot just be on the shoulders of a government agency, it is the core responsibility of every business owner.
Mobile technology is now emerging as the most efficient and cost-effective tool when it comes to workplace safety. Everything from drones, wearables, and tablets --- technology is changing the way that companies can collect, share, and analyze safety information in real-time.
Tools like GoCanvas can replace all the paper forms on your job site, and give you instant insight into what it going on on a daily basis. Everything from JSA's, Building Inspections, Punch Lists, and Site Surveys can be converted from paper into mobile forms that can be accessed ight on your smartphone or tablet using the GoCanvas mobile app. Or you can even explore Canvas' Application Store of hundreds of pre-made mobile forms from every industry you can think of.
Most companies don't want to be negligent about employee safety, it's usually a result from their out-dated operational processes and tools. Don't wait till it's too late!