The National Safety Council notes that focusing on workplace safety instead of the bottom line can prevent thousands of occupational injuries nationwide, including in Oklahoma. The council says work-related injuries should not be seen as a cost of business. Certain safety hazards are present in just about all workplaces, and focusing on that could bring about a significant drop in workplace injuries.
Fatigue and the lack of sufficient sleep increase not only the risks of workplace injuries but the overall health of workers. Fatigue can be linked to a variety of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Drug use is also a significant concern. The NSC says substance disorders cause workers to lose almost two weeks of work per year due to injuries, illnesses and other reasons not linked to holidays and vacation.
Slips and trips that cause falls and struck-by accidents make up a significant percentage of workplace injuries that can be prevented by proper housekeeping and alertness. Workplace violence threatens the safety of two million workers each year, and it should be included as a subject of safety training. The same applies to work-related driving. Distractions by cellphones threaten not only drivers but also operators of equipment and machines.
Oklahoma workers in all industries might find comfort in the fact that the state-regulated workers’ compensation system is a no-fault program that will provide benefits regardless of who was at fault. In many cases, victims of workplace injuries choose to focus on recovering and getting back to work while an experienced workers’ compensation attorney navigates the benefits claims for them. Basic benefits cover medical expenses and lost wages, with additional benefits for those whose injuries caused partial or total disabilities.