Deaths as a result of accidents in the workplace are on the rise. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ (BLS) Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries. The report shows that there were 5,190 workplace deaths reported in the United States in the year 2016. That is a 7 percent increase compared to the prior year. The report also shows that the fatal injury rate went up from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time employees in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016. What makes it significant is that this is the third straight year that this number has increased, the National Safety Council (NSC) has said, calling the news “disheartening.”
The BLS report for 2016 also shows that more workers were killed in transportation accidents than any other type of incident in 2016, accounting for about one out of every four deadly injuries. Another noteworthy fact is the increase in injuries relating to workplace violence. That number went up by 23 percent, making it the second most common cause of workplace deaths. Incidents involving workers’ exposure to harmful substances increased by 22 percent while fires and explosions declined 27 percent.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the increase in workplace fatalities in 2017 was the greatest since 2008. Jobs with increases greater than 10 percent in the number of deadly workplace injuries include food preparation and processing, occupations involving repair, maintenance and installation, cleaning and maintenance work, and sales.
There was also a 32 percent increase in deadly incidents when it came to the leisure and hospitality sector. The logging industry recorded the highest fatal injury rate in 2016. The year also saw increases in fatal workplace injuries involving those in law enforcement, life guarding and other public protection services.
The BLS statistics also showed than 36 out of 50 states had more workplace deaths in 2016 compared to 2015. There was an increase of 9.9 percent in workplace deaths involving workers 55 or older. Workplace deaths involving African-American workers rose 18.6 percent while fatalities involving Asian workers increased 40.4 percent.
The fact is that workplace injuries and deaths can and should be prevented. These significant increases in deadly workplace injuries points to a number of serious issues, particularly those relating to safety measures. Employers have a responsibility to create and maintain a work environment that is safe and healthy for their employees. This includes making sure that they have personal protective equipment and ensuring that they’ve had proper job and safety training.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits, which covers a portion of your lost income and all medical expenses. There are time limits within which you need to file your workers’ compensation claim in California. If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you may be able to claim death benefits through the workers’ compensation system as well. Our Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyers can also guide victims and families regarding filing third-party claims against parties other than employers who may be held accountable for your losses. Contact us for a free and comprehensive consultation.
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~J.Y. Glendale CA
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~A.C., Burbank, CA
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