California’s economy has shown significant signs of recovery in the
last couple years. The Great Recession was devastating to certain industries
throughout the state, but unemployment rates are falling, the economy
is picking up and Californians are really getting back to work.
This should be nothing but good news. However, the unfortunate side effect
of a rise in employment rates is a rise in workplace accidents, injuries
and deaths. According to a recent news article, the annual rates of fatal
workplace accidents in Southern California closely mirror the overall health of the economy.
An analysis of accident data by the Press-Enterprise shows that 2006 had
the highest worker death rate in the 10-year period examined. This was
just before the recession, when unemployment rates were at their lowest.
The number of workplace deaths had dropped approximately 73 percent by
2009, when the full effects of the recession were being felt. By 2012
and 2013, fatal accident rates were climbing once again.
Some correlation is to be expected. After all, it stands to reason that
more people working means more opportunities for on-the-job accidents.
But we should not have to choose between a healthy economy and healthy/safe
workers. The two are not mutually exclusive.
In many cases, serious injuries and deaths occur because tried-and-true
safety protocols are not being followed. Industries like construction,
heavy manufacturing and warehousing often experience “boom”
periods during economic recovery. In their eagerness to keep up with demand,
employers in these sectors often take shortcuts that favor production
Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.
Source: The Press Enterprise, “
WORKPLACE SAFETY: As economy recovers, workplace deaths rise,” David Danelski, Oct. 27, 2014