Last year, there was a significant drop in the number of workers killed in accidents and worksites across Georgia.In 2012, there was a 23% drop in workplace deaths compared to the previous year.
The data was released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.In 2012, there were a total of 33 workplace fatalities across the state.Just two weeks ago, the Georgia Department of Labor had estimated the number of fatalities at Georgia worksites at 30, and new figures by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration now peg the final number at 33.That number is still significantly lower than the 43 fatalities that were recorded in 2011.This is good news to all Georgians, and also our Atlanta workers comp attorneys.
Out of the workplace fatalities that occurred in Georgia last year, 13 occurred in the construction sector, which invariably contributes to the highest number of workplace fatalities every year.The remaining fatalities included 16 deaths in the general industry, one in the maritime trade industry, and three in the agricultural sector.
There have already been some theories raised about the reason for this decline, and not all of them are encouraging.For instance, rather than any increased focus on workplace safety in the State of Georgia, some believe that this decline is due to lower numbers of workers employed in many high-risk sectors.
For instance, the construction industry has not completely recovered from the financial disaster of 2008, corresponding slump in the housing market, and the construction bust.As a result, many construction workers remain without jobs, and construction sites are not as busy as they used to be.That could help explain the reduction in deaths in that sector.However, the comparison is made to the previous year, 2011, which was also a year in which construction was slow overall.
However, as the housing market begins to pick up, and there is increased activity in the construction sector, many worksites are likely to begin buzzing with activity again, employing electricians, roofers, plumbers, masons, crane operators and other construction workers.All of these people will be at a much higher risk of accidents unless employers take initiatives to increase workplace safety programs and make safety a priority.
The construction sector is not just the scene of the highest number of fatalities every year, but also the scene of the most preventable accidents every year.For instance, many of the most common accidents in the sector like trench collapses and scaffolding accidents, which can be prevented simply by inspecting the trench or the scaffolding, and making sure that it is safe for workers.
Other accidents like those involving heavy industrial equipment, cranes, tractors and forklifts can be prevented by increasing focusing on worker safety, and enhancing communication among workers.
Be Safe at Work!