What do the casualty count in the Iraq war and OSHA fatality count in 2014 have in common? If you were going to say that the number of casualties in the war had to be greater than one year of OSHA recordable fatalities, I thought so as well, until I did the research. When I pulled the information from OSHA’s website it showed that 4,679 workers died on the job in 2014, which is a staggering statistic. But then I pulled the information for the total number of U.S. Service members killed in Iraq from 2003-2014, and the number was 4,491; How could this be? A single year of workplace related deaths in the United States is more than 11 years of combat operations in one of the most hostile places in the world?
As a former Infantry Marine of eight years, a Purple Heart recipient, and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars, this overwhelming statistic stopped me in my tracks. No, there may not be weapons to carry or rules of engagement in the workplace, but there is definitely a battle to be fought; a battle for workplace safety. After transitioning out of the Military and now being in the safety incentive industry, visiting different companies, we see the same issues across the board plaguing the industry. From operational risk management issues to the lack of focus on safety in the workplace by not only the workers, but management as well.
It’s time to take a proactive approach to safety starting today and reduce the casualty statistics. There is no reason why 2016 and beyond should be close to the casualty count of a 10-year war. I welcome your feedback, to help spread the word that workplace safety is not going to fix itself; it’s time for a change; let’s find and implement solutions to this issue.