Dying on the Job: Highest Number of Work Fatalities in a Decade


Dying on the Job: Highest Number of Work Fatalities in a Decade

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its latest findings regarding worker safety and the risk of death from an injury on the job in this country.  It’s a warning to workers here in Indiana and Illinois because the risk of a deadly on the job accident is high.  How bad is it?

There was already a known trend for an increasing danger of on the job fatalities.  Research findings revealed there was a 7% increase in worker deaths from 2015 to 2016.

According to the December 2017 BLS Report, more American workers died on the job in the past year than any year since 2008. 

We’re seeing workers at the greatest risk of dying on the job they’ve had to face in a decade.

Read the 2017 BLS Job Fatality Report here.

Risk of Death on the Job Rises for Third Straight Year

This is a growing concern for safety advocates, of course, but it’s more than that given that the risk of dying in a workplace accident has risen for the 3rd straight year.  For those who represent the grieving loved ones of workers who have perished from injuries sustained on the job, this is a warning cry for everyone.

As wrongful death attorneys advocating for grieving loved ones of these worker-victims, we wholeheartedly agree with the assessment of Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Loren Sweatt when she describes this as a “tragic trend” where “America’s workers deserve better.”

Workers at the Highest Risk of Death

When you go to work, or you sent a loved one off for the day, there’s the assumption that it’s another ordinary workday and that at day’s end, everyone will be back home for dinner and maybe some television.

The tragic reality is that for many families, this will never happen.  There will be a severe injury during a workplace incident, and a death on the job that destroys a family and changes lives forever.

Of course, we all know here in Indiana and Illinois that some jobs are riskier and more dangerous than others.  Construction work is risky.  Commercial driving can result in a fatal motor vehicle accident.

For more, read:

According to the new BLS report, the most dangerous line of work in America today is in the transportation sector.  Two out of five worker deaths are in transportation accidents.  It may be shocking to learn that the second highest risk of death on the job is not specific to a certain industry (like mining or logging or fishing) but instead caused by workplace violence.

The BLS report shows that workplace violence is the 2nd most common reason for a worker to die on the job.  Shocking? Yes.  According to the BLS, workplace violence injuries increased by 23 percent in the past year.

Another bombshell from the BLS Report:  more drug overdose deaths.  The number of on the job deaths from fatal drug overdoses rose 25% in 2016. And the number of fatal drug deaths on the job has been increasing each year by at least 25% for the past six years (since 2012).

Responding to the BLS Report

These are very disturbing findings and many are pushing for changes in the workplace to make things safer for workers in this country.  There are major players in workplace safety that are issuing formal responses to the December BLS Job Fatality Report.   Groups like the AFL-CIO are incensed about this new BLS Report.

From Peg Seminario, the AFL-CIO Director of Occupational Safety and Health:

“The increase in job fatalities in 2016 reported by BLS shows that for many groups of workers in this country work is becoming more dangerous and deadly.  The 5,190 workplace deaths from injuries means that 14 workers were killed on the job a day, the highest number since 2008 and the highest rate since 2010.”

From the National Safety Council, an internationally known safety group headquartered here in Illinois, comes the following reaction:

The National Safety Council is very disheartened to see the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing a 7% rise in workplace deaths since 2015. Fatal work injuries reached 5,190 in 2016 – the third consecutive annual increase and the first time in nearly a decade that the number has surpassed 5,000. Employers cannot ignore this data, particularly since many different demographics are affected.”

Individual industries are also issuing official reactions.  For instance, the solid waste collection workers issued a published response to the  report.  Another example: trucking industry and truck driver groups who are voicing their concerns about the December 2017 BLS Job Fatality Report.  See, “Trucking Remains One of the Nation’s Deadliest Jobs,” written by Michelle Rafter and published on December 26, 2017, at Trucks.com.

The Deadliest Workplaces in Indiana and Illinois

What does this mean for our part of the country?  In our next post, we’ll go into which types of occupations and lines of work are the most dangerous for Illinois and Indiana, according to the new BLS release.

Which jobs in Indiana and workplaces in Illinois are the ones where workers are most like to die while working on the job? How can you protect yourself and your loved ones?

It’s important that we are all aware of these risks, because right now we know that things are not getting any safer.  Please, let’s be careful out there!

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