Another Workers’ Memorial Day came and went on April 28. The event, established in 1970, is intended to raise awareness of the lives lost as a result of occupational accidents, and encourage workers and employers to work together to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities on the job.
But in looking at the latest published statistics, there’s some doubt whether the steps organizations are taking to address workplace fatalities are really having the effect we want.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)1, 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019, the highest since 2007. It’s important to note that the rate of workplace fatalities has remained the same over the past 10 years, despite continued reductions in the rate of less-severe occupational injuries.
The lack of progress in reducing workplace deaths is an indication that past tools that enabled us to lower fatality rates aren’t working as they once did, and new ideas are required. But where do we go from here?