workplace safety

Dana

On a morning when a fire at a Seattle City Light substation knocked out power to customers including the Monorail, the utility’s CEO happened to be in city council chambers answering questions about safety. 

Seattle City Council members brought CEO Jorge Carrasco into an energy committee meeting to discuss a string of recent embarrassing news stories, including Seattle City Light’s effort to suppress unflattering online search results.

But public testimony at the meeting steered toward the issue of employee safety.

Austin Jenkins

Get out. Hide out. Take out. That’s the lesson employees at the Washington state Capitol got Wednesday in a class on active shooters. The refresher course comes in the wake of recent high profile shootings in the Northwest.

The sign on the door to the legislative hearing room said it all: “Workplace Violence Prevention and Active Shooter Survival.” About 50 state legislative and executive branch employees showed up for the lunch-hour training.

Andre Mondou / Flickr

Washington state seems to be a safer place for workers than most other places in the country. A new report says the state has the third lowest workplace fatality rate in the nation. 

New Hampshire had the lowest workplace death rate, followed by Rhode Island, then Washington. The three states with the highest on-the-job death rates were North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

The number of people killed on the job in Washington fell last year to the lowest number on record. Just 51 people died at work in 2011 – a big drop compared to 89 in 2010.

The Department of Labor and Industries is at a loss to explain why the number has fallen. They point to several areas where deaths declined. The biggest drop came among farm and forestry workers.

OSHA Training Institute, Southwest Education Center / elcoshimages.org

When you leave home for work, you probably assume you’ll live to come back at the end of the day.  For 86 workers, that didn’t happen last year.