Bureau of Labor Statistics Notes an Increase in Workplace Fatalities
According to a new report released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an increase in workplace injuries and fatalities in 2018. Specifically, the Department noted significant increases in two causes of fatal injuries: Deaths due to unintentional overdoses of nonmedical alcohol or drugs and work-related suicides. Overall, there was a reported two percent increase in worker deaths in 2018 compared to 2017.
Still, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to focus on four main hazards: Caught-in between accidents, struck-by hazards, electrocutions, and falls. Other than highway collisions, they are still the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. However, as we discuss below, transportation continues to lead to a large percentage of workplace fatalities, especially for truck drivers.
Increases in Fatal Incidents & Workers Facing the Highest Risk of Fatalities
In fact, transportation incidents remained the most common fatal event, accounting for 40 percent of all work-related fatalities, where motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of both injuries and deaths, leading the National Safety Council to object to the proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to weaken the hours-of-service regulations. Drivers who work in sales and truck drivers experienced the highest rate of fatalities, especially heavy tractor-trailer drivers.
There were also increases in a number of other deaths and fatal incidents linked to:
- Injuries by animals or people;
- Violence; and
- Contact with equipment and objects; specifically, workers being caught in running machinery or equipment and those struck falling equipment or objects.
Independent workers (i.e. those that are doing freelance work or who are involved in a short-term contract and/or single task) also faced an increase in fatal injuries in 2018. Similarly, to ‘regular’ employees, those who drive heavy tractor-trailer drivers faced the highest number of fatal work injuries, followed by construction supervisors, extraction workers, and construction laborers.
Fatal trips, falls, and slips decreased after reaching an all-time high in 2017; mainly due to a drop in falls. In addition, although motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of both injuries and deaths in some industries, work-related motor vehicle deaths reportedly decreased.
Contact an Experienced Texas Workplace Injury Attorney
The National Safety Council continues to maintain that not enough is being done to protect workers and employers should be seeking to identify hazards and improve safety measures every year. In fact, in reviewing reports from previous years, it does appear that the same hazards continue to provide problems every year and employers have previously been put on notice when it comes to what needs to improve to decrease fatal workplace injuries.
If an employer is responsible for a fatal work injury, compensation is available. If you or a loved one has experienced a fatal workplace injury here in Texas, contact our experienced Houston workplace injury attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help.