In recent years, the United States has seen a concerning rise in workplace fatalities, a trend that's casting a shadow over occupational safety and health. The alarming increase in fatal workplace accidents is a wake-up call for stricter safety measures.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2022 witnessed a significant spike in fatal work injuries, with 5,486 reported cases. This marked a 5.7% increase from the 5,190 deaths in 2021 and surpassed the 5,000 death threshold in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for the sixth time in seven years.
What’s even more alarming, this frequency translates to a workplace death every 96 minutes. The 2022 figure is notably higher than the 4,764 fatalities reported in 2020, which was the lowest since the 4,585 deaths recorded in 2013.
What are the leading causes of worker deaths?
Transportation incidents continue to be the leading cause of occupational deaths, accounting for 37.7% of the total fatalities. The transportation and material moving sectors, including driver/sales workers and truck drivers, suffered the most, followed closely by construction and extraction occupations.
Violence and injuries inflicted by people or animals also saw a notable increase. Additionally, unintentional overdose deaths reached a record high, continuing an upward trend since 2012.
What are the demographic disparities in workplace fatalities?
The data also reveals disparities among different worker demographics. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino workers experienced higher fatality rates than the national average.
Older workers, particularly those aged 55 to 64, faced the highest number of fatalities, mainly due to transportation incidents and falls.
Women accounted for a disproportionate number of workplace homicides. That’s despite representing a smaller percentage of overall workplace fatalities.
What actions should employers take to prevent workplace deaths?
The rise in workplace fatalities is a serious concern that calls for immediate action from employers. Employers can create safer work environments by doing the following:
- Regularly evaluate the workplace for potential hazards and assess the risk of accidents or injuries.
- Create clear, comprehensive safety protocols and ensure they are strictly enforced.
- Ensure that all employees receive thorough training on safety practices, especially those working in high-risk areas.
- Provide workers with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure they are trained on how to use it.
- Encourage employees to report hazards and near-misses without fear of reprisal.
- Keep all machinery and equipment in good working order.
How can a workers’ compensation attorney help me if I lost a loved one in a workplace accident?
For families that have lost a loved one to a workplace accident, it's important to seek legal help. The Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. see the devastation fatal workplace accidents have on families and can help you find your way forward during this difficult time.
If you lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. You may be eligible for compensation for burial expenses and survivor benefits based on the deceased worker’s average weekly wage prior to their death.
These benefits are typically paid to a spouse or children of the deceased worker. However, parents, siblings, and other relatives may be eligible for death benefits if there is no surviving spouse or child.
To get started on your claim, contact our law firm online or call any of our Ohio offices for a free consultation. We’ll answer any questions you have, determine your eligibility for death benefits, and help ensure that your claim is filed properly.