Firefighter Injuries lowest in past 20 years

A new report by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) details the numbers for firefighters in 2010 and the news is good news because 2010 saw a 8.0% decrease in firefighter injuries.

Other numbers reported…

Overview of 2010 Firefighter Injuries

• 71,875 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2010, a decrease of 8.0%.

• In addition to injuries, there were 11,200 exposures to infectious diseases, and 25,700 exposures to hazardous conditions.

• 32,675 or 45.4% of all firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations. An estimated 13,355 occurred at nonfire emergency incidents, 4,380 while responding/returning from an incident, 7,275 during training activities, and 14,190 occurred during other on duty activities.

• The Northeast reported a higher number of fireground injuries per 100 fires than other regions of the country.

• The major types of injuries received during fireground operations were: strain, sprain, muscular pain (52.8%); wound, cut, bleeding, bruise (14.2%); burns (5.9%). Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 59.0% of all nonfireground injuries.

• The leading causes of fireground injuries were overexertion, strain (25.7%) and fall, slip, jump (22.5%).

The chart below is the most encouraging news, showing the slow but steady decline firefighter injuries since 1981

Nonfatal Workplace Injuries and Illnesses at all time low

OSHA has just released the statistics for 2010 and the news is good. For the seventh year in a row the number of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses has dropped. From 5% in 2003 it has steadily declined to 3.5% in 2010 as the chart below illustrates.

While one might be tempted to conclude that the drop has to do with the fact that fewer people are working as a result of the economy, the numbers are based on the number of people who are employed full-time not the number of people in the USA. In other words the 3.5 means that of people who are working full-time 3.5 out of 100 had a recordable injury or illness not 3.5% of the population in general.

Of additional interest is the fact that “The incidence rate of illness cases alone remained relatively unchanged in 2010, as did rates among all illness categories with the exception of poisoning, whose rate increased from 0.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2009 to 0.3 cases in 2010.” This would lead us to conclude that the decline wasn’t related to better health or fewer viruses going around but to fewer accidents due to increased education and vigilance as well as better products and PPE that are designed to prevent injuries.


One other point that jumped out at me as I looked through the data was chart 3, shown below that shows that almost across the board (except in days of job transfer or restriction only cases) the private sector by far outperformed state or local government. One would hope that OSHA would pay attention to these numbers and make 2012 a year of focusing on government workers as a way to drop the number even more.



You can download the complete report in pdf format here.

OSHA drops SST number of employees to 20

OSHA just released the new Site-Specific Targeting agenda for 2011. The SST program is one of 14 current national emphasis programs and is designed to target non-construction business that are classified as high-hazard because they have above average work-related injuries, illnesses and fatality.

While the target hasn’t really changed since last year’s SST, the number of employees in the place of business that they are going to specifically going to be looking closely at has. The original number in 2010 was 40 or more employees. The number for this year has dropped to 20 or more employees. Additionally OSHA is going to implement an evaluation study to measure “the program’s impact on future compliance with OSHA standards.”

The drop from 40 to 20 should significantly increase the number of businesses who will be scrutinized by OSHA. OSHA hopes to make a significant difference in injuries, fatalities and illnesses in these special high risk occupations with this change.

In addition to the SST, OSHA currently has 14 distinct National & Special Emphasis programs.

“Little Change” in the number of fatalities in 2010 from 2009

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis released a statement yesterday (Aug. 25th, 2011) after finding out that there was no significant drop in fatalities between 2009 and 2010. There was, in fact, a slight increase. 2009 numbers total 4,547 and preliminary numbers for 2010 total 4,551.

Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement:

“No worker should have to sacrifice his or her life to earn a living.

“An average 12 workers die on the job every day, and that reality continues to drive the work of the Labor Department. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the National Safety Council estimated that 14,000 workers died each year on the job. Now, with a workforce that has doubled in size, the annual number of fatalities has dropped significantly. But it’s not enough. We cannot relent from our enforcement of laws that keep our nation’s workers safe. One worker killed or injured on the job is one too many.

“As our economy continues to strengthen and the workforce expands, we at the Department of Labor will remain resolute in our mission to ensure that safety is not sacrificed as America’s workers provide for themselves and their families. My constant focus is ‘good jobs for everyone,’ and safety is an essential part of that equation.”

View the press release.

2010 Top OSHA Violations

The National Safety Council Congress and Expo in San Diego served as the backdrop for OSHAs’ release of the 2010 top 10 most cited violations. Turns out that it hasn’t changed much. Here’s the list:

1. Scaffolding, General
2. Fall Protection
3. Hazard Communication
4. Respiratory Protection
5. Ladders
6. Lockout/Tagout
7. Electrical, Wiring Methods
8. Powered Industrial Trucks
9. Electrical, General
10. Machine Guarding

Thomas Galassi, the director of OSHA’s directorate of enforcement program stated that this is the result of over 94,000 citations from the 2010 fiscal year. The top ten made up almost half of all the citations handed out.

Crane and Derrick Standard Finally Released

Eight years in the making, the new OSHA Cranes and Derricks standard has finally been released. Available online here, the new standard will be officially published on Monday (Aug. 8, 2010) in the Federal Register. It is set to revise the old standard (29 CFR 1926.550) that has been in place since 1971.

Numbering 1,070 pages, the standard is, to say the least, comprehensive and extensive.

The major changes are:

  • Crane operator certification
  • Synthetic slings (which didn’t even exist back in 1971) recommendations and specifications
  • Clearer instructions for crane work around power lines
  • Greater responsibility concerning the ground condition

Reaction has already been mixed with some saying that this new standard, in practice, changes nothing. Time will tell and hopefully, a decrease in lives will show those who voice those opinions to be wrong.