December Letter to the Editor

Reader takes issue with ‘unsafe conditions’ claim

Overall, I like the Returning to work article (Safety+Health, October 2014), as most employers that truly understand their business know that having an employee work “modified duty” helps an employee get back to work sooner and lessens the cost associated (due to not having to reserve for loss wage benefits).

The one line that I wish was not part of the article was at the bottom of p. 52, paragraph 7, in parentheses, where it was written that “Stock was quick to add that most injuries occur because of unsafe conditions.” I felt that it was an unnecessary line. Absolutely, injuries occur due to unsafe conditions, and construction is probably the best example even though I don’t work in that industry. No matter how well one takes responsibilities to keep a worksite clean, there will always be some element, but that is exactly why the [National Safety Council] and countless safety professionals review the best options to minimize risk. Just because the construction site is cluttered doesn’t mean that it is unsafe. Yes, there are risks, but if the company is doing training, communicating the risks and educating employees about the dangers of the workplace, they should be able to make an informed decision to remain injury-free.

I just don’t agree that most injuries are from unsafe conditions. It is that “victim” mentality that many times prevents everyone from doing the right thing and working safely.

Chad Niec
Vice President of Risk Management
Paramount Staffing
Northbrook, IL