Revisions to the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

Back in April 2013 we posted the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries on this blog. Those statistics were, of course, preliminary statistics. Today, the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its’ revision.

You can access the document on the BLS website.

Among the changes resulting from the updates:

  • The total number of contractors fatally injured on the job in 2012 rose to 715 fatalities after updates were included. Contract workers accounted for over 15 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012. For more information, see the table on contractor data.
  • Roadway incidents were higher by 109 cases (or 10 percent) from the preliminary count, increasing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2012 to 1,153 cases. The final 2012 total represented a 5-percent increase over the final 2011 count.
  • The number of fatal work injuries involving Hispanic workers was higher by 40 fatalities after updates were added, bringing the total number of fatally injured Hispanic workers to 748. That total was about the same as the 2011 total (749), but the fatality rate for Hispanic workers declined to 3.7 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2012, down from 4.0 in 2011.
  • Work-related suicides increased by 24 cases to a total of 249 after updates were added. Workplace homicides were higher by 12 cases after the updates, raising the workplace homicide total in 2012 to 475 cases.
  • In the private transportation and warehousing sector, fatal injuries increased by 9 percent from the preliminary count, led by a net increase of 44 cases in the truck transportation sector.
  • A net increase of 31 fatal work injuries in the private construction sector led to a revised count of 806 for that sector. The 2012 total was an increase of 9 percent over the 2011 total and represented the first increase in fatal work injuries in private construction since 2006.
  • Overall, 36 States revised their counts upward as a result of the update process.


2012 Occupational Injuries and Fatalities


The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U. S. Department of Labor, released the preliminary results of the “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012” late last week (Aug. 22, 2013) and the good news is that 2012 saw a decrease of 310 fatalities over 2011 (from 4,693 in 2011 to 4383 in 2012). This is the second lowest since these statistics started being officially recorded in 1992.

Some of the areas that the department of labor, OSHA and L&I have been targeting have seen improvement. The number of fatalities in the Hispanic and Latino workers, for example, is down by 5 percent over the previous year.

Work-related suicides also declined by 10% as did non-Hispanic workers (by the same percentage).

A couple of areas saw increases, however, the most notable of which was the “under 16 years of age” category which saw an increase of 9 deaths (from 10 in 2011 to 19 in 2012), almost doubling in a single year. That’s an area that seems to need special attention.

Read the complete press release here.

Whistleblowe Statistics for 2012

With 2012 over and done with, OSHA has just released the stats on its’ whistleblower program.

The statistics show that cases filed continues to increase steadily.

The vast majority of cases were, of course, withdrawn or dismissed (disgruntled employees, people seeking to create problems, etc…).
The actual number of cases found to have merit dropped from 55 in 2011 to 45 in 2012.

You can view all the data on the OSHA whistleblowers website. It is essentially 7 pages of charts and graphs like the one above, making it easy to view at a glance.

OSHA’s 2012 Regulatory Agenda

Well it barely made 2012 (being finally published in the final week of 2012) but the OSHA 2012 Regulatory Agenda is finally available.
What is the Regulatory Agenda? Simply put it’s a document that outlines what OSHA is working on and when you can expect to see results.

Among the most significant items on the list…

1. A confined space standard for the constrution industry. There’s been a general industry confined space standard since 1993 but, because of the special challenges involved with the construction industry, they has long been a need for this counterpart to it. OSHA is expecting the standard to be finalized and available by July of this year.

2. The final rule for Walking Working Surfaces section of the fall protection standard. This proposal dates back almost 13 years now, intended to update the standard based on new technologies and procedures. The final ruling is due in August.

3. An update to the Electric Power Transmission and Distribution standard. Based on a fatality rate of 50 workers for every 100,000 OSHA intends this revision to “prevent many of these fatalities”. The final ruling is due in March.

4. Major changes to the Cooperative Programs. The main point in this revision is to remove and eliminate most of the exemptions from enforcement that have shielded many companies. The final ruling is due in April.

You can read the complete agenda here.

One blaring omission is any set date for a final ruling on the combustible dust standard. It’s been put back on the table but it still doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing a standard any time soon with 3 stakeholders meetings scheduled and the SBREFA due to initiate in October.

Top Ten OSHA Violations for 2012

This week, in case you weren’t aware of it, was the National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Florida. Everyone who’s anyone in the world of safety was there, including all the manufacturers of safety equipment. It’s also where OSHA usually announces the preliminary list of the top ten safety violations for the year. This year, the list ranks as follows:

  1. Fall Protection with 7,250 total violations
  2. Hazard Communication with 4,696 total violations
  3. Scaffolding with 3,814 total violations
  4. Respiratory Protection with 2,371 total violations
  5. Ladders with 2,310 total violations
  6. Machine Guarding with 2,097 total violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks with 1,993 total violations
  8. Electrical Wiring Methods with 1,744 total violations
  9. Lockout/Tagout with 1,572 total violations
  10. Electrical (General requirements) with 1,332 total violations

Noticeable changes from the previous year include scaffolding which last year was # 1 and fell to # 3 this year, Ladders which was # 8 last year and climbed to #5 this year and machine guarding which was # 10 last year and climbed to # 6 this year.

Olympic Facilities Construction = Zero Fatalities

With all the hoopla and fanfare of the Olympics, with all the gold medals, all the acolades, one thing that will most likely go unnoticed and unmentioned is the fact that London, with all the construction work that they did to upgrade and build new facilities for the 2012 Olympics, had not a single fatality. That’s an accomplishment that’s worthy of a gold medal in and of itself if we could figure out who to give it to.

Instrumental in this incredible accomplishment, the Bristish Health and Safety board found, was an unprecedented level of communication with management willing to listen to worker’s complaints and concerns. And it wasn’t just listening; management actively went out to job-sites to be present to talk to workers, checkout concerns and see for themselves where there might be a problem.

If there’s one lesson to be learned from this accomplishment it’s that safety isn’t about money it’s about communication, real communication!

For a complete document about the how and why of this zero-fatality accomplishment, download a report by the London 2012 Olympic committee.

June is National Safety Month

No, it’s not National Safety Inc month, it’s National Safety Month. What is National Safety Month?

From the National Safety Council website:

“NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. Each week carries a theme that brings attention to critical safety issues.”

The 2012 Weekly themes are:
Week 1: Employee wellness and PALA+ Challenge
Week 2: Ergonomics
Week 3: Preventing slips, trips and falls
Week 4: Driving safety

Follow the above links or go to the NSC National Safety Month page for free online training, a 2012 NSM planner and more.

May 6-12, 2012 is North American Occupational Safety & Health Week

NAOSH 2012: Sunday, May 6th – Saturday, May 12th

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, or NAOSH Week, occurs every year during the first full week of May. Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day (OSHP Day) falls on the Wednesday of that week.

ASSE urges everyone to get involved in NAOSH Week in an effort to better educate the public about the positive benefits a safe workplace provides not only for workers, but for their families, friends, businesses, their local communities and the global community.


“Safety on the Job” Poster Contest

NAOSH Week Press Room

Check out the NAOSH 2012 Website for more information

Flu season is mild, but not over yet

The flu virus is thought to thrive in cold weather, so it’s no surprise that during this unseasonably warm winter, we’ve had an equally mild flu season. Doctor visits for the flu have been below average this winter for New Mexico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But don’t think you’re in the free and clear. Typically, flu season peaks in February and March, so it still has time to ramp up and not over yet—meaning you still have time to get a flu shot—the kingpin of prevention—if you haven’t already.

Flu season doesn’t end with the start of spring either. It can continue well into May.

Because of the unpredictability of the flu, there is still a risk that it will become more widespread.

Currently, the CDC reports the flu as follows:

  • Widespread influenza activity was reported by 1 state (California).
    • Regional influenza activity was reported by 12 states (Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Virginia).
    • Local influenza activity was reported by 17 states (Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming).
    • Sporadic influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia, Guam, and 20 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).
    • No influenza activity was reported by the U. S. Virgin Islands.

If the winter remains mild, the chances of a mild flu season are high due to a combination of factors.

There are some who believe that flu viruses do like cooler weather and lower humidity, but we don’t have any solid science to prove it according to the CDC.

Also, in colder months, people tend to group together in closed areas, increasing the likelihood that colds and flu will spread. But when it’s warmer out, kids get outside for recess and adults get out of their offices for lunch. Another factor is that vitamin D is known to boost immunity. When it’s cold out, people get little sun exposure, so their skin doesn’t produce much vitamin D, compromising their immune system. But when it’s 50 degrees out and sunny, you’re likely to go outdoors, get some sun, and get a hefty vitamin D boost.

What is influenza (also called flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. Influenza A viruses can be broken down into sub-types depending on the genes that make up the surface proteins. Over the course of a flu season, different types (A & B) and subtypes (influenza A) of influenza circulate and cause illness.

Do I have the flu or a cold?

The flu and the common cold have similar symptoms. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Fever is generally the first difference. A flu may have a mild to moderate fever and most colds won’t. Your health care provider can give you a test within the first few days of your illness to determine whether or not you have the flu. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

The Flu Is Contagious

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6-10 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

So what can you do at this point?

•  Getting a flu shot is the single most important thing someone can do to protect themselves from the flu

•  Make sure your immune system is operating at its peak so it can help fight off any viruses you come in contact with. That means daily exercise, getting enough sleep, keeping stress level down, eating a well balanced diet, drinking lots of fluids, and making sure you get some vitamin D – either through sun exposure or taking a supplement.

• Avoid close contact—kissing, handshakes—with people who are sick and coughing. If you’re sick, stay home and keep your distance from others.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, not your hand, when coughing or sneezing. Cough or sneeze into the elbow as the picture shows.

• Wash your hands often to protect against germs you may pick up from door knobs, handshakes or surfaces. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.

• Keep your hands away from your face. Avoid the urge to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. The average person touches their face over 200 times a day without even realizing it.

Antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense in the prevention and treatment of flu.

  • Antiviral drugs are important in the treatment and prevention influenza.
  • Influenza antiviral drugs can be used to treat the flu or to prevent infection with flu viruses.
  • Treatment with antiviral should begin within 48 hours of getting sick, and can reduce your symptoms and shorten the time you are sick.
  • When used for prevention, antiviral are 70% to 90% effective in preventing infection with influenza viruses.
  • Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups.

Two antiviral drugs (oseltamivir, brand name Tamiflu®, and zanamivir, brand name Relenza®) are approved for treatment of the flu.

  • Oseltamivir is approved to treat flu in people one year of age and older.
  • Zanamivir is approved to treat flu in people 7 years and older.
  • These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before the drugs are used.
  • Antiviral treatment lasts for 5 days and should be started within 2 days of illness, so if you get flu-like symptoms, seek medical care early on.

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care. In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash


In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Seasonal Flu versus Pandemic Flu

Pandemic Flu

Seasonal Flu

Rarely happens (three times in 20th century) Happens annually and usually peaks in February or March
People have little or no immunity because they have no previous exposure to the virus Usually some immunity built up from previous exposure
Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications Usually only people at high risk, not healthy adults, are at risk of serious complications
Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed Health care providers and hospitals can usually meet public and patient needs
Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic Vaccine available for annual flu season
Effective antivirals may be in limited supply Adequate supplies of antivirals are usually available
Number of deaths could be high (The U.S. death toll during the 1918 pandemic was approximately 675,000) Seasonal flu-associated deaths in the United States over 30 years ending in 2007 have ranged from about 3,000 per season to about 49,000 per season.
Symptoms may be more severe Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and muscle pain
May cause major impact on the general public, such as widespread travel restrictions and school or business closings Usually causes minor impact on the general public, some schools may close and sick people are encouraged to stay home
Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy Manageable impact on domestic and world economy


Remember, if you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from the CDC, FDA and NM Dept of Health


Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for plateau