I’m sure many people are happy to bid good riddance to 2020 and hopefully look forward to a better 2021. As we begin the new year, I wanted to note a few areas of interest, in both the safety world at large and at ISHN.

Workplace deaths at highest level in 12 years

A total of 5,333 workers died as a result of on-the-job injuries in 2019 – a 1.6% increase from 2018 and the highest number of fatalities since 5,657 were recorded in 2007, according to Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data released Dec. 16 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the data shows that the overall rate of fatal workplace injuries was unchanged, remaining at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers for the third successive year. Other key findings:

  • 1 out of 5 workplace fatalities in 2019 were Hispanic or Latino workers. The 1,088 deaths among this group marks a 13.2% jump from the previous year and the most since the census began in 1992.
  • Transportation-related fatalities rose 2% to 2,122 while accounting for 39.8% of all fatal work-related injuries.
  • Slips, trips and falls resulted in 880 deaths – an 11.3% increase from the previous year.
  • Workers in construction and extraction occupations experienced 1,066 fatal injuries – a 6.3% increase from 2019 and the highest total since 2007.
  • Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers experienced 1,055 fatal injuries, the most since 2003.
  • Deaths related to unintentional overdoses from nonmedical drug or alcohol use while at work climbed slightly to 313, marking the seventh straight annual increase in this category.

New administration to bring changes

In a statement released in December, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: “Instead of increasing lifesaving measures aimed at protecting working people at our workplaces, the Trump administration consistently rolled back existing safety and health rules and has failed to move forward on any new safety and health protections. We look forward to working with the new administration to strengthen job safety protections and enforcement; rebuild workplace safety agencies; and prevent worker deaths, injuries and disease.”

We’re about to see what sorts of changes will be taking place under President-elect Joseph Biden, and ISHN has a couple think pieces I think you’ll find valuable. One, by our former chief editor Dave Johnson (and current editor-at-large) is in this issue and discusses what to expect in the coming months from his well-qualified and informed sources over his many years in the safety industry. The second article is from Russell Carr of Berg Compliance Solutions, who goes into detail on policy and enforcement under the Trump administration and what he believes would change under Biden based on his research. I hope you find these articles informative.

Changes to ISHN’s digital issue

And, finally, I’d like to let you know about some changes to ISHN’s digital edition, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. We’ve switched platforms for our monthly magazine, and I think you’ll like it a lot. Our new platform is cleaner, easier to read on all devices, such as tablets and on your phone, and is easier to link to topics for further reading on our website.

We hope to bring you more engaging content and opportunities for interaction via our new digital edition, such as more photos, podcasts and video. Please let me know what you think.