OSHA Act of 1970: General Duty Clause
(a) Each employer --
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
I’m sure that any safety professional can recite the General Duty Clause just like reciting the chorus from Don’t Stop Believing from the band Journey (a song that my wife tragically banned from our wedding). But, how often have we seen or worked in places with hazards and not reported or corrected the issue?
A study by the Rand Corporation produced startling facts about the American workplace. One-half of American workers reported exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions. I will repeat it again, 50% of American workers work in an environment that is likely to cause physical harm or death. 66% reported working at high speeds or under tight deadlines with one-fourth stating they have too little time to do their jobs. And nearly 75% of American reported that their work included intense or repetitive physical exertion on the job.
These findings fit perfectly into the Bureau of Labor and Statistics on the 8 common workplace injuries: Lifting, fatigue, dehydration, poor lighting, hazardous material, workplace violence, trips and falls, and stress. Each of these common workplace injuries fit at least into at least one of the categories of hazardous work conditions, working at high speeds (rushing), and intense or repetitive physical exertion.
So, don’t stop believing, just because it’s a small-town girl or city boy doesn’t mean they should have to work in a hazardous work condition. We need to ensure that we are identifying and creating solutions to workplace hazards.
What have you found is the most effective in prevention or correcting workplace hazards? Do these statistics startle you? Or is that what you see in the workplace?