A new report published by the AFL-CIO has determined that workplace fatalities are on the rise, despite the troubled economy in which work hours have decreased and unemployment is higher than usual. The findings should inspire review of workplace hazards and every employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace for employees.
“Death on the Job” Findings
The AFL-CIO’s report “Death on the Job” found that 13 workers were killed on the job every day in 2010, totaling 4,690 deaths nationwide. This workplace accident statistic does not include deaths from work-related diseases, which totaled 50,000 in 2010.
Latinos experienced workplace fatality rates eight percent higher than the rate for workers overall. As an industry, construction lost the most workers, though less than it did in 2009. Alaska, West Virginia, Wyoming and the Dakotas had the highest worker fatality rates and New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island had the lowest.
In addition to these alarming fatality rates, 3.8 million workers were injured on the job, though authors of the report believe these numbers are underreported and may be as high as 11.4 million. Together, workplace injuries and illnesses cost the country between $250 and $300 billion a year.
Pennsylvania suffered 221 worker fatalities in 2010, equating to 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers, a rate slightly above the national average. More than 5.4 million employees work in nearly 340,000 workplaces across the state.
Workplace Hazards and Liability
Since workplace fatalities are on the rise, it is important for employers and employees alike to review common workplace hazards as well as who may be held liable for workplace injuries and deaths.
Across the country, workers are injured or killed by disease, workplace violence, slips and falls at worksites, transportation accidents, exposure to hazardous substances and repetitive motions that wear down the body. In 2010, there were three workplace disasters that contributed to worker injury and death: the Massey Energy Upper Big Branch mine tragedy, an explosion at the Tesoro Refinery and the BP/Transocean Gulf Coast oil rig disaster.
All employers have a duty to provide safe working environments for employees, as outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s health and safety standards. According to these regulations, employers must first attempt to eliminate workplace hazards, then develop safety training and provide protective equipment if hazards cannot be avoided.
Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Pursue Justice and Compensation for Injured Workers
If employers fail to take these precautions, they may be held responsible for any workplace injury, illness or death that occurs as a result of their failure to protect employees. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while on the job, an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you understand how to hold your employer accountable and recover the compensation to which you may be entitled. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Philadelphia work injury lawyers, call us today at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.