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Recent trends in fatal workplace accidents

While some occupations pose serious risks to employees, others do not have many apparent risks. Nonetheless, workers in Massachusetts and elsewhere should be aware of any potential and possible dangers and risks a job could pose, because it is not always a fall or other serious incident that could result in fatal occupational injuries.

According to the most current statistical report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 4,679 fatal workplace accidents occurred in the United States in 2014. This number represents a 2 percent increase from the previous year. However, the rate for fatal work injuries occurring in both years remained 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

Industries that saw major increases in fatal workplace incidents includes mining, which went up 17 percent, agricultural, which went up 14 percent, manufacturing, which went up 9 percent and construction, which went up 6 percent. A decrease was seen in government workers, as it went down 12 percent from the previous year.

Fatal injuries caused by falls, trips and slips increased 10 percent in 2014. This major increase was driven by the increase in falls occurring from lower levels or heights. Moreover, the number of workers 55-years-old and older who were fatally injured rose 9 percent. These preliminary findings indicate that this number was the highest ever seen in this category.

Being injured on the job can impact the life of the injured worker and their family greatly. However, when a worker is fatally injured, a family not only suffers from the loss of a loved one, but also from financial burdens. Family members of workers killed in a fatal work incident should understand that they have recourse and benefits available to them. A workers' compensation claim could help family member recover for lost wages, funeral costs and other related damages.

Source: Bls.gov, "Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2014," accessed Sept. 17, 2015

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