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Hawaii ranked average in workplace safety

The National Safety Council found that 13 workers are killed in this country each day in a fatal workplace accident. In its recent report on fatal accidents, the Council determined that Hawaii received a grade of a C and ranked 22nd among the states for overall workplace safety. No state received a grade of A.

The country has experienced a rise in workers' deaths for the second year in a row. According to the Council, there were 4,836 reported fatalities in 2015. This was the highest number since 2008.

The leading causes of these workplace deaths are motor vehicles, falling, contact with equipment and other items and workplace violence. Workers in agriculture, transportation, warehousing, mining and construction suffer the most fatalities. More than 12,000 workers are also injured in this country each day, according to the report. The leading causes are overexertion, falls, slipping and tripping and object or equipment contact. The Council said these causes may be prevented.

Hawaii was ranked as under development for being proactive in prevention, preparedness and enforcing safety rules. This ranking was based upon evaluating mandatory safety and health programs, OSHA coverage of public employees, mandatory workplace safety committees, a workplace violence statute and installation of a multi-line telephone system enhanced first-responder program for employers.

However, the state was graded as being off track for worker health and well-being. Employer investment in comprehensive programs including safety and well-being were an important component. Elements included review of the state's drug-free workplace, anti-smoking and wellness laws.

Finally, Hawaii was ranked as being developed for its workers' compensation program. The state was reviewed for the maximum length of benefits for temporary disability, its maximum weekly benefit for permanent disability and the maximum length of time for permanent injuries. The Council also reported that temporary workers face double the risk of a serious injury and are assigned to riskier jobs. These workers do not receive the same level of training and protection as full-time workers even though they perform riskier work.

Victims of these accidents may be entitled to compensation for injuries while their families may file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a loved one. An attorney can help obtain evidence and assure that they can file a lawsuit.

Source: National Safety Council, "The state of safety," Accessed July 10, 2017

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