An average of nine Missourians are killed on the job per month. In September, that number jumped to 15. The Department of Labor is pointing to tough economic times as the reason for the increase.
The Department says the majority of workplace fatalities are in the construction and agricultural industries.
Amid a recent spike in injuries and deaths, the department is urging businesses to take advantage of its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program — or SHARP — which offers safety consultants at no cost.
Junior Dietzel, owner of Bee Seen Signs in Central Missouri, says losing a friend to a fall in Springfield hit home. That’s when he started writing safety programs and getting involved with SHARP in the early ’90s.
“We wanted to retain quality people, and a safe work environment is part of what it takes to do that,” he says.
Dietzel says the SHARP program has also helped reduce workers’ compensation premiums and general liability insurance.
“That savings goes a long way, especially for a small business like ours,” Dietzel says.
The Department of Labor says the manufacturing industry is considered a high-risk industry when it comes to workplace safety. It is typical for workers to suffer eye injuries, cuts from sharp edges, contusions from objects falling, back injhuries and a lot of slips, tripsand falls if the employer does not take the steps necessary to protect the employees from injuries. In 2009, more than 12,517 injuries and 15 deaths were reported to the Department from the manufacturing industry.
Recent deaths have been linked to transportation and public utilities, to retail trade and construction.
For more on how to sign up for the free ehalth and safety consultations, visit www.labor.mo.gov/SAFE or call 573.522.SAFE.