As the wise proverb says, “Better a thousand times careful than once dead.” Unfortunately, far too many employers and workers across the U.S. fail to take this old adage to heart—and many of them suffer the tragic consequences.
In 2015, 4,836 workers were killed on the job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. That’s an average of more than 93 work-related deaths a week and more than 13 every day. While these numbers may seem shocking, it’s actually a vast improvement from decades past. A lot of that can be owed to an important organization called OSHA.
OSHA to the rescue
In an effort to decrease workplace deaths and injuries, the U.S. government passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. As part of this Act, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure U.S. workers had safe, healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing safety standards and providing ongoing training, education and assistance.
Over the past 47 years, OSHA has worked hand-in-hand with state partners, employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates to create a positive impact on workplace safety. As a result, American worker deaths are down from an average of 38 deaths a day in 1970 to 13 a day in 2015. To top it off, worker injuries and illnesses have plummeted from 10.9 incidents for every 100 workers in 1972 to only three incidents per 100 workers in 2015.
Because of the unique hazards associated with the pest management industry, it’s critical for PMPs to enact and enforce a stringent on-the-job safety program. Not only do these safety standards protect your workers—they also protect your customers, the general public and the environment.
“Ensuring that our employees are working safely and meeting all of the appropriate external and internal safety standards is integral to virtually every aspect of our operations,” emphasizes Eric R. Paulsen CRM, CSP, risk management with Clark Pest Control, a family-owned pest management business serving businesses and homes across California and Nevada. “Externally we need to be concerned with protecting our customers, the public and the environment; and internally we need to be concerned both with protecting the safety of our employees as well as protecting the reputation and financial well-being of our companies.”
If pest management companies fail to make workplace safety a priority, it can lead to dire consequences. Paulsen points out, “We have endless opportunities to potentially harm or injure our employees, our customers, the public or environment, and any such occurrence has the very real potential to harm our company’s brand, to get us into trouble with regulators and to cost lots of money.”
By Amy Bell