For yet another year, more Americans died on the job than the year before. Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts a Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, gathering data on the number and causes of deaths on the job nationwide. A recent report based on this data showed that 5,190 people died in workplace incidents in 2016, which was a 7% rise over the 2015 total of 4,836. This was the third year in a row that there was a rise in deaths on the job in the US, but this year’s fatal injury rates were especially high. 2016 was the first year that over 5,000 people were killed in on-the-job accidents since 2008. Out of every 100,000 full-time workers, 3.6 died in workplace accidents, which was an increase from 2015’s rate of 3.4 per 100,000 workers, and the highest annual workplace fatal injury rate since 2010.
The single largest cause of on-the-job deaths in 2016 was transportation incidents. Forty percent of all workplace fatalities, or 2,083 deaths, fell into this category. More specifically, 1,252 deaths were caused in roadway incidents such as auto accidents, accounting for 25% of the overall total of worker deaths. In a surprise to many experts, the second-leading cause of deaths on the job was incidents of violence or other injuries caused by persons or animals. Eight hundred sixty-six workers’ deaths fell into this category. Of these, 500 died by homicide at work, an increase of 83 over last year’s total. Additionally, 291 people died from suicide committed at work, which is the largest number of at-work suicides ever reported by the census since it began reporting such data in 1992. Following incidents of violence, slips, trips, and falls were the third-leading cause of death in the workplace.
Employers have a duty to provide safe places for their employees to work, which should include all safety equipment, training, and security necessary to protect them from known risks on the job. Workers who are hurt on their job, or the families of those killed by a workplace accident, have a right to benefits from a workers’ compensation claim, and in some cases may also have a right to file a third-party lawsuit seeking redress from the negligent party. It’s in your best interest to speak with a skilled California workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer for help with all potential claims after a workplace injury.
For legal assistance after an on-the-job injury in Southern California, contact the dedicated and knowledgeable workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at Hanning & Sacchetto for a free consultation, at 562-698-6446.