U.S. businesses need to follow mandated Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) regulations to ensure that they fulfil their corporate responsibility and aren’t sued by employees, customers or the Government for negligence.
If you are an OHS consultant, you’ll have to work with your clients to help them fulfil their industry specific OHS obligations and seek the licenses they need to conduct business. But which industries in the USA require OHS consultants?
Top 10 industries that need OHS consultation
The transportation sector has one of the highest fatality rates in America. They account for 40% of all workplace accidents and deaths. In 2019, over 882 fatalities were observed in the transportation industry, an increase from the 874 deaths in 2018.
Apart from truck drivers and delivery agents, transportation workers involved in rail and sea transport are at risk too. Rail derailments and accidents during rail cleaning/maintenance have also claimed lives. Accidents on off-shore tankers also put employees at risk. Transportation employees are constantly exposed to dangerous exhaust fumes and pollution. These can cause numerous illnesses from rising BP to cancer.
OHS consultants can help reduce these workplace risks.
Following transportation is another very risky profession –construction. Over 17% of all workplace injuries occur when people slip, trip or fall during work. These types of accidents are very common in the construction sector, where workers routinely lift heavy items or balance precariously on high-rise buildings. Last year, over 971 people were lost due to construction accidents.
In addition to construction, extraction jobs also pose grave danger to workers. Their close proximity to equipment like earth drillers, mining tools and explosives puts them at serious physical harm.
OHS consultants can help protect construction workers by educating employers about the on-site safety and health measures they can employ.
3. Law enforcement
Law enforcement & public employees like police officers, coast guards, military personnel etc. are part of perilous occupations. USA has a history of violent crime. Many cities are infested with vicious gangs and wars erupt regularly. Law enforcement employees often come into the crossfire and some end up getting seriously hurt. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, on average, 64 law enforcement deaths occur on-the-job due to encounters between law enforcement and felons.
OHS consultants can study the quality of police/military gear, identify if there is any non-adherence to mandated safety requirements and also study the safety measures on-site.
4. Iron & steel work
People working in structural iron and steel work, are often at risk of burns, falls and blunt force trauma. They handle very heavy metal materials and machinery as part of their jobs. Sometimes, on-site conditions aren’t safe enough, making their jobs riskier. Last year, there were over 800 non-fatal injuries in the iron & steel work sector.
OHS consultants are required to asses the quality and availability of safety equipment on-site, to ensure that risks are reduced for these employees. Many times, iron & steel workers come from third-party providers. OHS consultants can create protocols which the contractor needs to follow if a third-party worker gets hurt at work.
Roofers have the fifth-highest workplace death rate in the United States. Research indicates that roofing specialists have almost twice the fatality risk of all construction jobs.
Roofers climb steep roofs and many times these roofs have loose shingles/tiles. It’s very easy to lose balance, slip or trip and fall. Considering that many building roofs are multi-story high and usually no harness is provided to roofers, roofing work becomes immensely dangerous.
OHS consultants can advise both the roofing company and general contractor on providing safety provisions for roofers.
6. Ranching & farming
Agriculture jobs are exposed to sharp tools like sickles and scythes and heavy machinery that sow, harvest and grind seeds. If the farm has animals or the individual works on a ranch, there is a risk of injury by animal attack.
Sometimes, farm workers and ranchers need to visit other farms or move their herds to a different location. This can give rise to road accidents that can grievously injure the individual. In 2019, over 257 farmers/ranchers died due to transportation risks.
OHS consultants are necessary to help reduce these workplace hazards and create safety programs that can be applied both on the farm/ranch and when off-site.
Logging is also one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Statistically, workplace accidents in the logging industry is 20X-30X higher than the national workforce accident average.
Many deaths and non-fatal accidents in logging occur when logged trees fall on top of the worker. Equipment slipping from hands can also cause permanent limb damage. OHS consultants can work with logging companies to create proper plans for how logging should be done and chart-out possible emergencies that can occur on-the-job.
8. Waste management
Refuse collection & recycling might seem harmless, but the truth is, this sector poses numerous hazards to employees. One of the primary reasons for workplace accidents in waste management is negligence by employees when feeding waste into the trucks and/or recycling equipment with moving parts. Then, there is also the employee’s exposure to combustible/explosive materials like batteries, dust and dangerous pathogens, which can cause dangerous illnesses. If employers don’t provide the mandated health and safety gear and don’t conduct regular medical check-ups of their employees, the number of workplace fatalities can increase. OHS consultants can eliminate such problems.
Commercial fishing is a physically demanding job that exposes the employee to extremely harsh conditions and weathers. Tired and out at sea for months, employees may get careless in their handling of the heavy equipment, which can lead to serious accidents on-board the vessel. According to research, there were 120 non-fatal accidents and 41 deaths in the commercial fishing industry.
Immediate medical attention is often not available for fishermen when they’re at sea, making it necessary to have on-board the right safety equipment and protocols. OHS consultants can add great value in advising fishing companies and State fishery boards about the safety and health measures they need to employ to keep their fishermen safe.
10. Retail & wholesale
Staff working at wholesale units and retail stores need to lift heavy boxes when stocking shelves. This job involves a lot of bending and lugging of heavy materials, which can affect their physical health. Slippage is also a common hazard in wholesale and retail outlets.
OHS consultants can work with retailers and wholesalers to create workspaces that are ergonomically safe and suitable for employees. Additionally, they can help ensure that these stores are disability-friendly as well – not just for workers, but also customers.
Protect yourself with Professional Liability Insurance before you pick up OHS consulting work
OHS consultants assist companies in meeting the health and safety regulations mandated by their respective State & Federal Governments. However, there is no guarantee that there won’t be any on-site accidents or injuries after the implementation of OHS practices.
As an OHS consultant, it’s important to protect yourself from any claims of bad advice or negligence. The Professional Liability Insurance and General Liability Insurance can help you here. Visit BizInsure website for more information.