Occupational Safety isn't a joke. If you're fixing an AC compressor on the ledge of the 28th floor with no harness, you're just inviting trouble over, and risking not only your life but ending up on the r/OSHA subreddit as well.
This online community is made up of 725,000 members who are constantly reminding one another to follow safety regulations by posting pictures of people who didn't. And I have to say, it's working — these disasters in the making were so bad, scrolling through them made me put on a helmet before changing the lightbulb in my bedroom and getting inside a hazmat suit just as I was about to take out the trash.
One of the moderators of the subreddit, -eDgAR-, said it is above all a subreddit that is meant to be lighthearted, where you come for a laugh at how ridculous some people can be. "It's not meant to be a place for serious discussions about safety, although, often times comments can actually get into great analysis about the issues shown in posts, which is grea," they told Bored Panda.
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However, if we were to get serious for a moment, there were 5,250 fatal work injuries in the US in 2018, with falls being the leading cause of death. A year before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 5,147 workplace fatalities. The United States consistently outpaces other industrialized nations in workplace fatalities: here, the average rate for these incidents has hovered at 3.5 deaths for every 100,000 workers over the past decade while workplace fatality rates in the UK have remained under 1.0 death for every 100,000 workers over the past decade, and under 1.5 deaths for every 100,000 workers on average for the 15 earliest member states of the European Union.
In the steel industry, for example, several workers die every year from a fatal fall, and the occupation is regularly cited as one of the most dangerous in the US. Even though
Sadly, Mike Wright, director of health, safety and environment at the United Steelworkers union, told The Guardian that all of these deaths are preventable. "I've seen a lot of fatalities where you walk in and you think: 'I can't believe this didn't happen 10 years ago," Wright said.
According to him, fatalities most often happen in shifts where supervision is lacking in cases where routine safety procedures are ignored, such as workers rushing to fix a broken piece of equipment to return to production as soon as possible.
Wright explained that many fatal falls are underreported because of how coroners rule on causes of death. If a cardiac event was included as part of a workplace fall, OSHA will often refuse to code these incidents as workplace fatalities even if the United Steelworkers union argues the victim would have survived the cardiac event otherwise.
Employers should not only look for ways to eliminate risks and hazards but also use administrative controls, such as proper training, providing personal protective equipment, and creating systems where production pressures, miscommunication, or poor training don't enable something to go wrong where it could cause a worker to get injured or die in the workplace.
Getting back to r/OSHA, -eDgAR- said it is governed by pretty much the same laws as the rest of Reddit. For example, the answer to the question of whether or not a particular post goes go viral often lies in timing. "We don't get a crazy amount of posts like other subreddits and have seen days with only a handful of posts. If you're one of the lucky first chances are you'll get to the top."
If you have anything to submit, the moderator happily invites you to do it! "We love original content and growing as a community," they added.