Maryland’s workplaces getting safer, but more effort needed
Maryland workplace safety data shows a trend in the right direction, but unfortunately, Maryland employees are still regularly hurt, sickened and even killed on the job. Most work injuries are compensable through the state workers’ compensation system, the exclusive legal remedy in almost all workplace harm situations, but sometimes other legal remedies are available.
Maryland’s state agency charged with improving workplace safety is Maryland Occupational Safety and Health, known as MOSH, part of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. MOSH not only enforces work safety laws and regulations through inspections, but also provides education and consultation to state employers trying to enhance safety on their premises and at their worksites.
MOSH collects Maryland state statistics that show year-to-year trends in work injury, illness and fatality. As of this writing, the agency is providing 2011 data on its website. Here are some of the high level Maryland state findings from 2011:
- Nonfatal work-related injuries and sicknesses totaled almost 65 thousand, more than 9,000 fewer than in 2010.
- Total workers in the state in both the public and private sectors totaled about 2.3 million people.
- Injury and illness incidence rate was 3.4 out of every 100 full-time equivalent workers, more than 10 percent lower than the national average and the lowest in the 40 years the state has been keeping the data.
- The incidence rate for public workers was 5.8 per 100 full-time equivalent employees; for private, 3 per 100.
- In private industry, the transportation and warehousing sector’s incidence rate declined a whopping 26 percent.
- In public employment, state nursing and residential care facility workers had a very high work injury and illness rate of 21.3 per 100.
- Occupational diseases remain difficult to track with certainty and are probably underreported because the conditions can take years to develop after exposure to toxins or other dangerous materials at work.
Maryland saw 71 work fatalities in 2011, the same as the year before, but down from 106 in 2006.
Seek out a work injury lawyer
Anyone in Maryland who was hurt on the job or has developed an illness from exposure to something in the work environment, or whose loved one or family member was killed on the job or from a work injury or disease should discuss the situation with an experienced Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer. Legal counsel can advise the victim about how to pursue his or her workers’ compensation claim and also assess whether any other legal remedies might be available, such as a lawsuit against a potentially liable third party like a property owner or landlord of unsafe work premises or the manufacturer of a dangerous piece of work equipment.