STRAIGHT FROM THE Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), here are some sobering statistics about U.S. workplace accidents:

• Each year, approximately 6,000 employees in this country die from workplace injuries.

• Another 50,000 people die each year from illnesses caused by exposure to workplace hazards.

• Six million workers suffer nonfatal workplace injuries at an annual cost to U.S. businesses of more than $125 billion.

In contrast, here’s a delightful statistic from the records of Tucker Paving, Inc.:

Last summer, management and staff celebrated a major workplace safety milestone — more than 500,000 hours of no loss-time employee injuries! We’re pleased to report that our safety record since that time has been excellent, too.

OSHA exists to help boost public awareness about on-the-job safety, to enforce federal safety laws and regulations that apply to the workplace, and, ultimately, to reduce the number of worker deaths, injuries, an illnesses. Tucker Paving continues to be a successful, thriving, and growing construction company, in part, because management consistently places such a high priority on accident avoidance and overall employee safety — with and without OSHA’s help.

Most people of working age have heard about OSHA (pronounced Oh-Sha), but its history likely isn’t so well known.

According to an OSHA fact sheet, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the OSH Act, “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” Some states have enacted occupational safety and health laws and operate federally approved state plans. These states adopt and enforce state standards and regulations that are at least as effective as those enacted under federal law.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established as an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The OSH Act covers all employees except workers who are self-employed and public employees in state and local governments. In states with OSHA-approved state plans, public employees in state and local governments are covered by their state’s OSHA-approved plan. Federal employees are covered under the OSH Act’s federal employee occupational safety and
health programs. U.S. Postal Service employees, however, are subject to the same OSH Act coverage provisions as are private sector employers.

The OSH Act does not apply to particular working conditions addressed by regulations or standards affecting occupational safety or health that are issued by federal agencies, other than
OSHA, or by a state atomic energy agency. Other federal agencies that have issued requirements affecting job safety or health include the Mine Safety and Health Administration and some agencies of the Department of Transportation.

“Why should everyone be concerned about job safety and health?” the fact sheet asks. Well, the sour statistics that lead this article help to answer that question. Those are a lot of workplace-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses — and a huge negative impact on U.S. business efficiency, productivity, resources, and profitability.

“Effective job safety and health add value to the workplace and help reduce worker injuries and illnesses,” the OSHA fact sheet states.

With an all-hands-on-deck approach to excellent employee and workplace safety, we conclude with a few and easy-to-remember sayings that tend to help the cause. These are among the safety sayings we like best here at Tucker Paving:

• “Safety is a full-time job. Don’t make it a part-time practice.”

• “What’s tomorrow? It’s your reward for working safely today.”

• “Work safely today. Remember, someone expects you home tonight.”

Whatever you do for a living and wherever you work, be safe out there!