U.S. Department of Labor seeks to address rise in work-related deaths

July 25, 2018, 3:16 a.m. ·

The U.S. Department of Labor is attempting to stem an increase in workplace fatalities in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has investigated 39 work-related deaths in these states since October 1, 2017. Nebraska has seen 12 workplace fatalities since October alone, passing the previous year’s 10 deaths.

Omaha area director for OSHA Jeff Funke said a majority of workplace fatalities within the state and throughout the country can be attributed to falls in construction.

“Unfortunately with the better weather and summertime we see more activity,” Funke said. “…We have an uptick in the number of fatalities.”

However, Funke said he believes one death in the workplace is too many.

“All these are preventable, and they should never occur. These are individuals, they’re someone’s husband, brother. This has a huge negative effect in our country and in our community, so one is too many,” Funke said.

Funke said OSHA has implemented a number of programs, such as the Safe and Sound Campaign in 2017, to promote safety for employees. The Safe and Sound Campaign urges employers develop a safety and health program that takes a systematic approach to finding and fixing workplace hazards.

The campaign has received commitments from nearly 200 organizations since its implementation.