Labor Department Works with Businesses to Reduce Workplace Deaths
September 2009 saw a Spike in the Number of Deaths
On Oct. 29 and 30, Missouri Labor Department Director, Larry Rebman, visited with management and employees in the central, eastern, and southwest areas of the state to discuss programs designed to enhance workplace safety in Missouri. Rebman also recognize the businesses for striving to prevent workplace deaths and injuries. The visits come on the heels of a month in which Missouri experienced a higher-than-ordinary number of deaths in the workplace.
“In these tough economic times companies are cutting back on employees and relying on the remaining workforce to be more productive. A side effect of doing more with less is that employees sometimes shortcut safety measures, resulting in an increase in workplace injuries and even death,” said Department Director Larry Rebman. “We are fortunate there are employers dedicated to making workplace safety a priority.”
Rebman’s outreach included visits to Diesel Exchange, Inc., in Springfield, Bee Seen Signs in Jefferson City, and Edge Manufacturing in Pevely, Mo.
Bee Seen Signs, a full-service sign company, was one of the first businesses to become a member of the Missouri Department of Labor’s elite safety program, Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) in July 1992. Bee Seen Signs began working with the Department’s safety consultants in June 1990 and has since provided a top-notch facility for both its employees and clients.
Diesel Exchange, Inc., a diesel engine re-manufacturer, became a member of the SHARP in November 2008. Diesel Exchange, Inc., began working with the Department’s safety consultants in July 2007 and subsequently has provided a top-notch facility for both its employees and clients.
Edge Manufacturing, a metal fabrication manufacturer, became a member of the Missouri Department of Labor’s elite safety program, Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), in January 2007. Edge Manufacturing began working with the Department’s safety consultants in May 2003 and has since provided a top-notch facility for both its employees and clients.
The manufacturing industry is considered a high-risk industry when it comes to workplace safety. In 2009, more than 12,517 injuries and 15 deaths were reported to the Department from the manufacturing industry.
The Department saw an increase in overall workplace deaths for the month of September. On average, nine workplace deaths are reported to the Department per month. For September 15 Missourians lost their lives on the job. The types of industries and work related to the recent deaths range from transportation and public utilities, to retail trade, and construction.
The Department offers free on-site safety and health consultations to high-hazard businesses with 250 employees or less. Our professional consultants identify safety hazards and help employers come up with inexpensive solutions. Participation can lower insurance premiums, cut out-of-pocket expenses, and reduce workplace injuries. Businesses that implement safety programs over a period of time can become SHARP members and be exempt from OSHA-targeted inspections for up to three years.
To be eligible for SHARP, a company must implement a safety plan, and the worksite’s lost workday injury and illness rate must be below the national average for its industry. For more information on how to sign up for our FREE health and safety consultations, visit www.labor.mo.gov/SAFE or call 573-522-SAFE.