Workplace Deaths Rise: On the Job Accidents Kill More
While there has been an overall steady decline in the total number of workplace deaths since they reached a high of 6,600 in 1994, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number actually seems to be leveling off, and actually rose ever so slightly in 2011, when 4,693 workers died, up from 4,690 in 2010. Put into perspective, that means 13 people die while working at their jobs every single day.
Among the worst culprits causing workplace fatalities were; transportation incidents, which caused 1,937 worker deaths; “contact with objects and equipment” which caused 710 worker deaths; “falls, slips [and] trips,” which caused 681workers to die on the job and; “exposure to harmful substances or environments,” which led to 419 worker fatalities.
The report also revealed a few other sobering statistics. Apparently, between 7.6 million and 11.4 million workers are injured or get sick every year, many of which are not reported. Also, 50,000 workers die every year from diseases they contract through their work, often through prolonged contact with dangerous materials and chemicals, or through increased stress on the body.
For the first time ever, the BLS report included contract workers in their own category, and found that 542 such workers died in 2011, which is 12 percent of the total number of fatalities. Because many employers think of contract workers as something other than their own employees, there seems to be less protection.
As has been the case for some time now, according to the report, the state of Texas was number one for workplace fatalities with 433 in 2011. This, despite the fact that the number represented a decline from the 461 fatalities reported in 2010. By way of comparison, one could combine the statistics for 15 smaller states, and still come up with fewer workplace deaths than Texas. The state of Texas can also boast of having the most contractor deaths in the country, with 56.
The trajectory for workplace fatalities should always aim downward. Any increase in occupational deaths should set off alarm bells. Greater technological advances should result in better worker training and greater safeguards against accidents. Inside Texas and nationally, it’s past time for employers and government regulators to work hard to reduce the number of workers injured or killed while simply doing their job. If you have been injured or you lost a loved one on the job, contact the Texas Worksite Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.