by Jerry Mooney

Most employers don’t know it, but the biggest threat to the lives of their employees is the working environment. According to Jerry Laws who edits the Dallas-based Occupational Health and Safety magazine, it’s the most common cause of death of working age people “and has been for a while.”

There are good reasons for this he says. One of the reason is overwork. Anything that employers can do to make their employee’s working hours and regular and as predictable as possible is a benefit. Tired employees, not concentrating on what they're doing, can make mistakes which could put their lives at risk.

The next most helpful thing people can do, he says, is have conversations with employees about their work-life balance. Many people need to work all hours to provide enough income for their families, but this just puts them a higher risk of having an accident.

Take a look at these sources of accidents in the workplace and how to prevent them.


Violence In The Workplace

The most common form of workplace violence is violence from people outside of the business, says Nellie Brown, a health and safety director from Cornell University. She points out that if companies look at the crime statistics data, they’ll immediately see that more than three-quarters of all violence against employees is a byproduct of robbery. Her advice is to reduce employee exposure to thieves. This means reducing the number of staff guarding money, interacting with the public and working alone. She also suggests making sure that your workplace is well lit, has security cameras and that there are always multiple people on the site during late hours.


Forklift Truck Accidents


Wikimedia Commons


If you’ve ever worked in a warehouse before, you’ll know how seriously businesses take forklift training. Forklift trucks are a major reason for fatalities in the workplace. But most accidents could be avoided, according to Laws, so long as companies take the right precautions. Of course, that means specific training for all employees, not just those driving forklifts. But it also means creating a culture of safety around forklift trucks that includes every employee. Doing things like insist pedestrians stand at least two bays away from a forklift in use can help reduce accidents and keep business costs low.


Toxic Contaminants

The most common toxicity problems for business today are leaking gas and chemicals. According to people in the OHSA, there’s going to be a big push over the next few years to make sure that all companies are installing carbon monoxide monitors.


Wikimedia Commons


Carbon monoxide has no smell, and so it’s impossible to detect at the moment, and it isn’t mandated that it have a scent, like regular natural gas. Businesses need special alarms to tell them when there is a leak so that they can take action quickly before somebody inhales the gas and falls unconscious.



Falling is the final major hazard that can result in employee fatalities, according to the OHSA. Providing additional equipment, like guard rails, is a good idea for preventing falling deaths in the future.

Jerry Mooney is co-founder and managing editor of Zenruption and the author of History Yoghurt and the Moon. He studied at the University of Munich and Lewis and Clark College where he received his BA in International Affairs and West European Studies. He has recently taught Language and Communications at a small, private college and owned various businesses, including an investment company. Jerry is committed to zenrupting the forces that block social, political and economic justice. He can also be found on Twitter.