BLS Report: The Most Dangerous Jobs
February 17, 2022
According to a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 4,764 fatal work injuries in 2020. Although this number represents a near 11% decrease in fatal injuries from the previous year, safe and ethical workplace practices could have prevented most of the deaths.
While some may think that the decrease in workplace fatalities indicates a positive trend in workplace health and safety, there are other important factors to take into consideration. Liz Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO (the largest federation of unions in the U.S.), ascribes much of the change to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led record-high numbers of individuals being laid off or working from home. Despite the reduction in people working on-site, data from the BLS shows that 13 workers died on the job each day in 2020, representing approximately one death every 111 minutes.
High Risk Occupations
Some workers face higher risks for experiencing fatal occupational events than others, says the BLS. Workers in the following occupations sustained the highest rate of deadly injuries:
- Workers in transportation, construction, extraction and material moving positions. Individuals in these positions accounted for over 47% of the fatal injuries that occurred in 2020
- Fishing and hunting workers
- Fatalities in healthcare support occupations grew by nearly 16%
- Law enforcement workers experienced an 18.6% increase in fatalities from the previous year
The BLS’ data contains other key findings, as well. Here are just a few important examples from the report:
- The most frequently occurring type of fatal workplace events were transportation-related incidents, which accounted for nearly 40% of recorded deaths
- The number of Latino and Hispanic workers who lost their lives on the job increased by more than 2%
- The overall fatality rate was 3.4 per every 100,000 workers, but the fatality rate for Black workers was 3.5 per 100,000.
- Of the total fatalities, women accounted for 8.1%. However, they also comprised over 16% of workplace homicides that took place that same year
- More than 950 workers between the ages of 45 and 54-years-old sustained fatal injuries
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the top four causes of occupational fatalities, or the “Fatal Four”, are falls, struck by and caught in or between incidents, and electrocutions. The BLS reported some other top causes of workplace deaths, which include fires and explosions, exposure to harmful environments and/or substances, slips, trips, and violence and other injuries that are caused by another person or animal
Keeping Workers Safe
Under the OSH law, or the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are legally responsible for providing workers with a safe and healthful workplace. This means that employers must provide a workplace that is free from serious and recognizable hazards. Employers also must comply with the rules, regulations, and standards as mandated by the OSH Act. Despite their legal and ethical requirement to protect workers from preventable risks that can cause life-changing and fatal injuries, some employers continue to endanger the individuals they employ each and every day.
For reference, here is a list of OSHA’s top 10 most commonly cited workplace safety violations for the agency’s 2021 fiscal year:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Fall protection – training requirements
- Machinery and machine guarding
- Eye and face protection
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout procedure requirements)
Filing a Workers’ Compensation or Third-Party Liability Claim
When a worker gets hurt on the job, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to injured workers – but it does not offer reimbursement for other damages, like an injured party’s pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances that surround a worker’s injury, they may want to consider filing a third-party liability claim as well. One of the most common types of third-party liability claims involves a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect of a product or equipment that individuals use in the workplace.
Here are some examples of our firm’s recoveries on behalf of injured workers filing workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims:
- Our client, a housing framer, fell 18 feet while installing lateral bracing on a house under construction. He suffered traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries leading to paraplegia. Our firm recovered $8 million dollars for our client. Read more.
- Our client sustained fatal injuries when an 1800-pound roll of paper fell onto him from a delivery railcar. Our attorneys obtained a $5 million recovery for our client’s grieving family. click here to read more about this recovery.
If you were injured at work and have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party liability claim, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you were a victim of a workplace injury, please contact our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.