One U.S. once praised the great American worker for his or her continuous endeavor in making the U.S. a strong and prosperous nation; a fitting acknowledgement to workers’ untiring contribution to the continuously growing industry, which is the manufacturing business.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Labor, said that, in 2010, almost 12 million individuals were employed in manufacturing firms all across America; their number still continue to rise every year.
As manufacturing firms continue to grow and increase, however, the number of injuries and deaths of workers likewise increase. A manufacturing business, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is work involved in the transformation of components, substances or materials into new products. The equipment and tools, the materials used, the processes of manufacturing, the working environment, and the daily exposure and proximity of workers to dangerous tools and substances, are all part of the work which, without doubt, always put workers’ safety and lives in danger.
The top causes of injuries in manufacturing firms include:
- Exposure to harmful environments and toxic substances. This includes working in environments where there is danger of radiation, electrocution and/or inhalation of toxic fumes. Though this is the least common cause of injury in this list, its effects are always severe;
- Repetitive motion. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the number one injury sustained by workers due to repetitive motion.
- Falls. This can be falling to a lower level or same level falls. Losing ones’ balance or tripping over an objects along walkways, falling off ladders, scaffolds, loading docks and stairs, are some examples of falls that lead to serious injuries;
- Overexertion. This is due to excessive physical motion while lifting, pushing, pulling, throwing or carrying a heavy object. Overexertion is the second leading cause of injuries in the manufacturing industry; and,
- Contact with objects. This occurs when a worker runs into stationary objects or the reverse, which is moving objects striking a worker. Being caught in or rubbing against machineries (in operation) is one of the major causes of accidents in manufacturing sites.
According to the law firm Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, though wages and benefits of workers in manufacturing firms are now generally more appealing and substantial compared to other jobs. However, the physical labor demanded by the job, as well as the danger workers are always exposed to, put workers’ lives in constant danger. This exposure to great risk not only necessitates workers to know their right in claiming benefits from Workers’ Compensation in the event of an accident, but also reminds them of their right to demand from their employer a safe and healthy working environment.