Monday, October 17, 2016

BEST PRACTICES FOR PREVENTING FATALITIES, INJURIES AND ILLNESESS: Virginia officials are seeing a surge in workplace deaths in 2016, in pace for 80% increase over 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia officials are seeing a surge in workplace deaths and they say if the trend continues the state could see an 80 percent increase this year.

The Department of Labor and Industry said in a statement that 29 workers have died from job-related injuries and illnesses this year through the end of July.

There were 31 workplace deaths in all of 2015 and the same number of deaths in 2014. Officials say nine of the 29 fatalities this year have occurred in the construction industry.The department is urging employers to carefully review injury and illness prevention programs and safety and health procedures with workers.


Virginia employees and employers have a strong history of maintaining fatality, injury and illness rates below national averages.

But through the first 7 months of 2016, there has been a surge in Virginia workplace fatalities.  29 Virginia workers have died of job-related injuries and illnesses through the end of July, 2016, compared to 31 deaths for all of 2015.  

“In the month of July alone, 8 Virginia workers have lost their lives in workplace accidents, devastating families, friends, co-workers and businesses", said Commissioner C. Ray Davenport.  "If this horrific trend in workplace deaths continues, Virginia will experience a 80% increase in fatal accidents investigated by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) program in 2016".

SOURCE:  DOLI Public Service Announcement, SURGE IN VIRGINIA WORKPLACE FATALITIES IN 2016 (English) Acrobat Icon(47KB) SURGE EN LUGAR DE TRABAJO DE VIRGINIA MUERTES EN 2016 (Spanish) Acrobat Icon(47KB)
Immediate steps that can be taken by employers and workers to avoid workplace injuries and illnesses include:
  • Conducting a safety and health "Stand Down" meeting and encourage discussion on recognizing and correcting hazards in the workplace. 

  • Working together with Front Line Employees as a team to make the workplace a safer, healthier and happier place to work.

  • Establishing and implementing a Safety and Health Program for the work site with full employee involvement.
  • Improving accident prevention through Hazard Analysis, encouraging employee reporting of hazards and near misses, and timely correction of hazards.
Hazard Identification Training
Hazard Prevention/Control
Virginia’s Most Frequently Cited Standards in General Industry and Construction
  • Increasing reporting of hazards and injuries in the workplace.  Many times minor injuries go unreported and more severe injuries result later on as a result of an uncorrected hazard in the workplace.

  • Increasing attention toward the safety of vulnerable workers such as temporary workers or those who are not fluent in English.
Temporary Worker Issues
Spanish Speaking Workforce
  • VOSH offers free On-Site Consultation Services to help small businesses better understand and voluntarily comply with VOSH standards.  Priority is given to high hazard workplaces with 250 or fewer employees.  Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry office closest to you at or by contacting Warren Rice, Director of Cooperative Programs at (804) 786-6613 or
More information on injury and illness programs can be found at INJURY AND ILLNESS PREVENT PROGRAMS.
More information on training for employees and employers can be found at TRAINING.
More information on assistance available to small businesses can be found at SMALL BUSINESSES.
More information on reporting workplace fatalities (within 8 hours) and severe work-related injuries - defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye (within 24 hours) can be found at REPORT WORKPLACE FATALITIES. (fatalities and severe injuries can also be reported through OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or a local VOSH regional office. 

Workplace fatality victims are exposed to some of the most frequently cited OSHA hazards such as falls, struck-by, and electrocution.  In Virginia, employers are required to follow all federal OSHA identical standards as well as Virginia Unique Standards which are available at STATE SPECIFIC STANDARDS.
Information on statistics for the VOSH Program can be found at VOSH COMMONLY USED STATISTICS
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, or file a complaint, contact the VOSH Safety Program Director at or 804-786-7776.