While worker fatality rates are lower than they have been in the past, American workers are still far from safe in the United States. Most job-related fatalities are concentrated in four types of incidents.
Fatality Rates Are Rising
Nationally, job fatality rates are starting to slowly rise after a long period of decline. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 5,333 work-related fatalities recorded in the United States in 2019. This is a 2% uptick from the 5,250 workplace deaths that occurred in 2018.
Truck accidents are common causes of work-related fatalities. Truck drivers have been killed in growing numbers as the nation’s roads have become more dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 40% of work fatalities are transportation incidents. Trucking companies are cutting corners, and many major roads have become more clogged with traffic. In addition, there are more truckers working as cargo numbers have skyrocketed in the past decade.
Slip and fall deaths are the second-leading cause of worker death in the United States. Many areas of the country are experiencing a construction boom as the housing market explodes. This is particularly true in booming markets like Reno, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Employers have recently had to cut back on safety training because of the pandemic, and their programs were already lacking before that. Approximately 17% of workplace deaths are attributed to falls.
The third leading cause of worker deaths in the United States is violence on the job. When workers are attacked and injured while performing the duties of their jobs, the incidents count as job-related. In 2019, 16% of workers who lost their lives on the job were killed by workplace violence. The families of workers who are killed in robberies or attacks can file for workers’ compensation in addition to filing a civil lawsuit against the entity responsible for the violence.
Exposure to toxic substances and chemicals is also a common cause of worker deaths in the United States. It still counts as a workplace fatality when the employee develops symptoms of an illness years after leaving the job. So long as the employee was exposed to the substance at work, and it caused an illness, he or she could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation has a death benefit, so families could still receive money if their loved one died. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure families recover money for medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses.