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Why Does Missouri Rank Last in the Nation for Workplace Safety?

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You may be well aware of the hazards you face in your daily life. From traffic accidents to slippery sidewalks to dangerous chemicals at work, you're careful to avoid being injured or killed by these dangers.

But how much is the state of Missouri doing to help you avoid a serious accident? According to the National Safety Council (NSC), not much.

In a new report, Missouri earned a failing grade by the NSC in all three of the examined areas: road safety, home and community safety, and workplace safety. As a result, Missouri ranked last among all states for efforts to reduce or eliminate preventable deaths. We take a look at the NSC’s workplace safety report card for Missouri to try to understand where the state is falling short.

Missouri’s Workplace Safety Report Card

workplace_safetyThe mission of the NSC is to “eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education, and advocacy.” In order to point states in the right direction when it comes to policy and legislation aimed at reducing preventable accidents, the agency launched a year-long project to evaluate each state on its efforts in the three spheres—work, home, and on the road.

While Missouri earned failing grades in all three areas, we'll focus on the workplace for this article. The NSC evaluated the state’s workplace safety by looking at the following three areas:

  • Prevention, preparedness, and enforcement
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Worker health and wellbeing

While Missouri had a couple of key initiatives in place, it missed the mark on almost every other standard.

Prevention, Preparedness, and Enforcement

The NSC evaluated Missouri in the following five areas for signs that we are prioritizing workplace safety through legislative measures:

  1. Safety and health program for employers required. Missouri does require safety and health training for most employers.
  2. State/local government employee OSHA coverage. Missouri doesn't require OSHA compliance by state and local government employees.
  3. State workplace safety committee law/mandate. Missouri doesn't have a state workplace safety committee.
  4. State workplace violence law. Missouri received partial credit for having minimal workplace violence laws in place.
  5. State enhanced 911 program for employers. Missouri doesn't have an enhanced 911 program for employers.

Missouri was given an overall “Off track” rating for prevention, preparedness, and enforcement.

Workers’ Compensation

For this area, the NSC looked at workers’ comp maximum benefits in the state. It found the following, which earned the state a “Developing” rating:

  • Maximum length of benefits in weeks (temporary disability):
    400 Weeks/Rank #37
  • Maximum weekly benefit (permanent disability):
    $887/Rank #20
  • Maximum length of benefits in weeks/amount (permanent disability):
    No Limit/Rank #2

Worker Health and Wellbeing

Because Missouri doesn't mandate any health or wellbeing programs for workers, we performed abysmally in this area. Specifically, Missouri doesn't offer any of the following, which the NSC sees as key components to preventing workplace injury and death:

  • Drug-free workplace law
  • Workplace anti-smoking law
  • Workplace wellness law

What Is the State’s Responsibility?

While legislation at the state level can go a long way towards protecting employees, many Missourians prefer to not have their industries over-regulated by government. Of course, just because the state doesn’t mandate these safety programs, doesn’t mean individual employers cannot make efforts to create a safe workplace.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) encourages all employers to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for hazardous workplaces, which includes adopting the following basic safety philosophy:

  • Every incident can be avoided
  • No job is worth getting hurt
  • Every job will be done safely
  • Incidents can be managed
  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility
  • Safety/Best manufacturing practices should be followed
  • Safety standards, procedures, and practices must be developed
  • Everyone must understand and meet the requirements
  • Working safely is a condition of employment

Given that businesses in Missouri are responsible for providing workers’ compensation insurance for employees who are injured or become ill on the job, it makes sense that companies would want to provide a safe workplace.

We Can Help With Workers’ Comp Claim Problems

If you were injured at work, or developed an illness due to workplace exposure and are having a hard time getting the workers’ comp benefits you deserve, our attorneys may be able to help. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation. 

 

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