Washington: Summertime Brings Extra Workplace Hazards

August 4, 2009

If historical trends continue, July and August are the deadliest and most dangerous months for Washington workers, according to the state’s Department of Labor & Industries.

L&I says in the summertime, there is typically a spike in worker injuries. In the 10-year period from 1998 to 2008, a total of 100 workers were killed on the job in August and 96 in July, compared with a low of 57 in January and 67 in February in the same period. The number of workers’ compensation claims from 2004-2008 shows a jump to nearly 14,000 a month in July and August each year, compared with a low of fewer than 11,000 a month in December.

“There are a variety of reasons that injuries, illnesses and even deaths go up in the summer, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it year after year,” said Steve Cant, L&I’s assistant director for safety and health. “We’re trying to raise awareness to summertime dangers so that employers and their employees can work together to improve safety on the job.”

Cant said L&I offers a number of resources for making workplaces safer, and this year is running an advertising campaign, co-sponsored by four business and labor organizations, to increase awareness that if you work safe, you go home safe. More information about the campaign and workplace safety is available at www.WorkSafe.Lni.wa.gov.

Cant cited several things that contribute to a summertime spike in workplace injuries and deaths:

  • Young workers entering the workforce may lack experience and training.
  • Increased road construction raises risk for workers and drivers alike.
  • More people on the road leads to more risk of motor vehicle accidents.
  • There is increased activity in all sectors, e.g., construction, agriculture, manufacturing.

Source: L&I

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