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NSC Gives Pennsylvania a “D” Grade in Protecting Residents’ Safety


The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released a new report entitled “The State of Safety: A State-by-State Report.” It grades each state in the nation on the actions and policies taken (or not taken) to reduce risk of injuries or deaths for all residents.

Unfortunately, no state received an “A” grade, but several did receive “Bs” and “Cs.” Pennsylvania wasn’t one of them, however. It received a failing grade of a “D” along with other states like Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

“The state of safety in America is perilous,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman. “We cannot afford to sit back while we lose more than 140,000 people because of issues we know how to prevent.” Hersman was referring to a 2017 report by Injury Facts showing that fatalities from poisonings, motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, choking, and fires have increased by seven percent since 2014, claiming more than 140,000 lives each year.

Pennsylvania Marked Down for Regulatory Failures

As mentioned, Pennsylvania received an overall grade of a “D” on the NSC’s evaluation, ranking the state as #27 among the 50 states. That means that overall, the NSC believes the state is not doing enough to protect residents from common safety hazards.

In the category of “road safety,” there were a total of 1,296 fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2015. The state was marked down for failing to put in place certain policies, like requiring an ignition interlock for all first-time and repeat DUI offenders, and administering a 90+ day license revocation for testing above the .08 level, or for refusing to test.

Other issues included failing to ban cell phone use for teens and novice drivers, failing to require an in-person license renewal for older drivers, failing to require motorcycle helmets, and failing to require seat belts on school buses.

In Home and Community Safety, there was a total of 5,950 fatalities in 2015. The state was marked down for failing to require a waiting period for firearm purchases, failing to require sprinkler systems in new one- and two-family homes, failing to regulate pain clinics, and failing to require carbon monoxide detectors in schools.

Pennsylvania Comes Up Short on Workplace Safety

The state did a little better on workplace safety, receiving a grade of “C” and ranking #17 among all 50 states. There was a total of 152 fatalities in 2015, and the state was credited for requiring a safety and health program for employers, and for providing a state-enhanced 911 program for employers. They were marked down for failing to provide state/local government employee OSHA coverage, and for providing only partial coverage for state workplace violence injuries.

The NSC also noted that the state needs a workplace anti-smoking law. They gave partial credit for the current partial ban. They also suggested the state work on workplace wellness and drug-free workplace laws.

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