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Tennessee could see more than 30 percent increase in worker deaths, state OSHA says

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Photo: Cynthia Farmer/iStock/Thinkstock

Nashville, TN – Twenty-two worker deaths have occurred in Tennessee in the first seven months of 2016, indicating the state may surpass the number of on-the-job fatalities recorded in 2015, according to the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

If the trend continues, the number of worker deaths in Tennessee will increase more than 30 percent from 2014, TOSHA administrator Steve Hawkins said in an Aug. 23 press release.

“Employers need to carefully review their injury and illness prevention programs and their workplace safety and health procedures with their employees,” Hawkins said in the release.

Almost half of Tennessee’s on-the-job deaths this year have occurred at construction sites.

The agency investigated 29 workplace fatalities in 2014, a report from the agency states. TOSHA also investigated 34 workplace deaths in fiscal year 2015, according to an AFL-CIO report, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, published in April 2016.

The agency offers the following tips to avoid workplace illnesses and injuries:

  • Conduct a safety and health “stand-down” to discuss the recognition and correction of workplace hazards.
  • Work with front-line employees to make the workplace safer, happier and healthier.
  • Establish a worksite safety and health program.
  • Increase hazard and incident reporting.
  • Increase focus on the safety of vulnerable workers, including temporary employees or those not fluent in English.

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