Picture: Christopher Burns

Industrial and occupational accidents have been happening for decades. However, they seem to be increasing year-on-year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an 8.9% increase in fatal accidents in 2021 from the year before. The fatal work injury rate was also the equivalent of 3.6 fatalities for every 100,000 workers.

Industrial and occupational accidents can occur for many reasons. However, they are commonly related to negligent conduct. More specifically, companies can fail to do some of the following things:

Perform Regular Maintenance

Visit, and you’ll see mention of accidents related to refineries, chemical products, construction, and explosions. These specific hazards don’t occur by chance. Sometimes, they relate to companies failing to perform regular maintenance checks on tools and machinery.

Workers can be at risk when maintenance and repairs aren’t carried out. Their equipment and tools can malfunction or fail altogether, leading to life-changing or life-ending injuries. In such situations, employees or their families often meet with lawyers to discuss their compensation options.

Provide Adequate Training

Sometimes, equipment and tools are more than fit for purpose. They are adequately maintained and cared for and suitable for the jobs they’re being used for. However, a lack of training for use can lead to severe injuries.

Accidents can happen if employees aren’t adequately trained in how to perform their job or use specific equipment. In legal terms, such industrial accidents can often be related to negligent conduct.

Offer Protective Equipment

Many industrial jobs can be performed safely, even when encountering hazards. Often, that safety comes down to the protective equipment that employers provide. Hard hats, protective goggles, and steel-toed boots are a few of the many pieces of safety equipment that can keep employees safe.

However, many employers don’t make PPE available or don’t encourage its safe use. In fact, one study found that a lack of knowledge on how to use it was one of the main reasons for non-use. The general conclusion in this study was that PPE utilization was low concerning safety training. Occupational accidents were also common and related to safety training and PPE use.

Ensure Equipment Is Free of Defects

Some equipment can be so important to use that serious injuries are nearly guaranteed without it. For example, construction workers often rely on scaffolding to reduce the risk of falling. However, some important equipment can have manufacturing faults or defects. If scaffolding, for example, has the incorrect attachment points, the wrong parts, or doesn’t follow the scaffold plan, workers can be at risk.

Install Safety Signs

The more experienced employees in a workplace might not need safety signs to tell them that a particular machine or part of a building has hazards to be aware of. However, that doesn’t mean the safety signs still shouldn’t be there. Safety signs alert all site visitors and new employees to dangers to look out for. Without those signs, they might be at an increased risk of accidents and injuries.

For example, if a piece of construction equipment doesn’t have a warning sign about not removing a blade guard, employees might think they’re safe to do so and put themselves at risk of serious injury.

Industrial accidents don’t happen by chance. Typically, they occur due to failings. Employees who fail to take these actions above might be in a great deal of legal trouble if their employees or site visitors become injured as a result.


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