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State of Safety State Report Cards Are Out

As advocates for visual organization and increased workplace safety, we are always interested in safety studies, especially those that look at employee safety. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 4,821 people – more than 13 per day – died while doing their jobs.

As incidents of accidental workplace deaths are at an all-time high, the National Safety Council recently released its latest report, “The State of Safety,” which looks at the preventable death rate by accidents in each state, categorized into road accidents, workplace accidents and home and community accidents.  The report concludes states must adopt stronger safety practices to combat increasing incidence of accidental deaths, especially at work.

Who made the grade?

The State of Safety assessed states’ safety efforts by examining laws, policies and regulations around issues that lead to the most preventable deaths and injuries. In addition to receiving an overall grade, states earned grades in three different sections: Road Safety, Home and Community Safety and Workplace Safety. States were given “On Track,” “Developing” and “Off Track” distinctions in all three sections’ safety issues.

The report details state-by-state issues in an innovative comprehensive assessment of how well Americans are protected from risk. The study concludes no state goes far enough to protect its resident workers from the most common preventable deaths and injuries – commonly known as “accidents” – on the road, in homes and communities and at work, says NSC. Despite preventable deaths being at an all-time high, none of the 50 states or Washington, D.C., earned an “A” for overall safety.

“The cultural novocaine has to wear off,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman.  “Safety is no accident. We lose more than 140,000 people because of events we know how to prevent. This report provides states with a blueprint for saving lives, and we hope lawmakers, civic leaders, public health professionals and safety advocates use it to make their communities measurably safer.”

Seven states – Maryland, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Connecticut, California and Washington – as well as Washington, D.C. received a “B” overall. Eleven states received an “F.” Those states and their overall ranking are: Kansas (#41), Oklahoma (#42), Arkansas (#43), Arizona (#44), South Carolina (#45), South Dakota (#46), Montana (#47), Wyoming (#48), Mississippi (#49), Idaho (#50) and Missouri (#51).

The criteria for grading workplace safety included prevention, preparedness and enforcement; workers’ compensation; and worker health and wellbeing. The states that scored the highest for workplace safety included Illinois, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. The states that scored the lowest for workplace safety included Missouri (#47 – 104 workplace fatalities), South Dakota (#48 – 18 workplace fatalities), Idaho (#49 – 36 workplace fatalities), Wyoming (#50 – 31 workplace fatalities) and Kansas (#51 – 56 workplace fatalities).

What can you do?

The National Safety Council recommends employers develop and implement a safety culture at their worksite that encourages and trains employees to think about safety in all aspects of their work day. Visual cues and visually instructive safety messages are a core piece of a good safety culture. Our floor marking products and safety signs can be valuable tools in your quest to make your worksite safer – and more productive. Check out our best ideas on a visual workplace and safety cues in our Resource Center.

See the video National Safety Council made about the State of Safety Report and see how your state scored.


Want more information? is a leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor marking tapes and signs. helps facility and safety managers create more productive and safer workplaces by communicating with visual devices and visual cues.

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