Number of fatal workplace injuries up for third consecutive year

Employees in California and elsewhere around the country report to their jobs each day, anticipating a workday without incident. There are government requirements regarding safety to which companies must adhere. Many entities even go above and beyond what the government requires and institute more stringent safety measures. Despite increasing safety rules and regulations, the latest national reports indicate that fatal workplace injuries have increased.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published a Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries. The report showed that there was a 7 percent increase in the number of workplace fatalities from 2015 to 2016. The injury rate for fatalities increased slightly from 3.4 to 3.6 per 100,000 for the same time period.

Accidents involving transportation topped the list of fatalities, followed by workplace violence incidents. In addition, the number of fatalities caused by falls has risen by 6 percent in 2016 and 25 percent since 2011. Certain groups of workers, such as roofers, carpenters and tractor-trailer truck driver saw an increase of 25 for the past year. Another disturbing trend involves overdoses on the job, with annual increases of 25 percent since 2012.

Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicated that the trends reported in the census report were unfortunate. The latest data reflects three consecutive increases in fatal workplace injuries, with the latest being the largest since 2008. OSHA's deputy assistant secretary stated that the agency hopes to reverse these negative trends through additional training and enforcement.

Every California employee has the right to a safe working environment. However, despite the existence of safety programs and procedures, fatal workplace injuries can still occur. A trusted workers' compensation attorney can assist families of victims of such injuries. A knowledgeable lawyer will work with clients to see that they receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source:, "Fatal Injuries in the U.S. Workplace Increased 7% in 2016," Jan. 22, 2018

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