Bureau of Labor Statistics Report Shows Workplace Fatalities Are Increasing
May 4, 2023
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) most recent report on occupational fatalities, there was an 8.9% jump in workplace fatalities between 2020 and 2021. While employers may be required by federal law to have numerous safeguards in place to protect employees from known and recognizable hazards, the BLS’ report highlights how workers continue to lose their lives because of negligent safety and health failures every day.
The Report’s Key Findings
While the BLS’ report contains a wealth of important data, here are some of its key findings:
- The fatal work injury rate in 2021 was 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. In 2021, the fatal work injury rate was 3.4. The fatal occupational injury rate of 3.6 per 100,000 FTE is the highest annual rate since 2016
- A worker died every 10 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021
- The rate of Black or African American workers who sustained fatal injuries on the job increased from 11.4% of the total fatalities in 2020 to 12.6% of total fatalities in 2021
- Workers in transportation and material moving occupations were the occupational group with the highest number of fatalities. There were 1,523 fatalities in 2021; this was an 18.8% increase from the year before
- Transportation incidents were the most frequent type of fatal event to occur, with 1,982 fatalities. Transportation incidents accounted for more than 38% of all work-related deaths in 2021, jumping 11.5% from the previous year
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments culminated in 798 worker fatalities, the highest figure since 2011
- Fatal injuries due to slips, trips, and falls grew by 5.6% in 2021, accounting for 850 fatalities. Slips, trips, and falls in construction and extraction occupations accounted for 370 of these fatalities, increasing by 7.2% from 2020
- There was a 16.3% increase in deaths for driver/sales workers and truck drivers
- Construction and extraction occupations sustained the second most occupational deaths in 2021
- Protective service occupations, like firefighters, law enforcement, police and sheriff’s patrol officers, and transit and railroad police experienced a whopping 31.9% growth in fatalities in 2021
- Installation, maintenance and repair occupations had 475 fatalities, increasing nearly 21% from the year before
- Fatal injury rates for roofers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, structural iron and steel workers, and underground mining machine operators also grew between 2020 and 2021
Accident Prevention in the Workplace
The data from the Bureau’s report shows how critical it is for workplaces to have effective safety management systems that protect workers from preventable – and all too often deadly –- incidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide workers with a safe workplace. Here are some of an employer’s key responsibilities for keeping workers safe:
- Provide a workplace free from serious, recognized hazards and comply with the standards, rules, and regulations as prescribed by the OSH Act
- Examine workplace conditions to ensure compliance OSHA’s standards
- Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment. Be sure to properly inspect and maintain all tools and equipment
- Use color codes, posters, labels, and/or signs to warn employees about potential hazards that they may encounter
- Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements
- Employers must provide safety training in a language that employees can understand
Were You Injured on the Job?
At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have represented victims of unsafe working environments and negligent employers for decades. When a worker becomes ill or is injured at work, he or she can file what is known as a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to injured workers. Depending on the circumstances that surround a worker’s injury, it may also be available to file a third-party liability claim. For example, an injured worker should file a third-party liability claim if he or she sustained injuries due to a defective piece of industrial machinery or if another party or product bears responsibility for the worker’s injury.
Here are some examples of our firm’s notable workers’ compensation recoveries:
- Galfand Berger attorney Richard Jurewicz represented the grieving family of a worker who was fatally injured in a tragic workplace incident. An 1800-pound roll of paper fell on our client, killing him. Rick obtained a $5 million recovery for the victim’s family.
- Attorneys Debra Jensen and Bradley Smith represented a client who sustained a deep laceration injury that developed into debilitating complex regional pain syndrome. Our attorneys filed a suit against the manufacturer of a “payoff” machine, arguing that it should have been better guarded to prevent operators from coming into contact with moving parts like our client did. The manufacturer agreed to settle the matter pre-trial for a sum of $2 million.
If you sustained injuries at work and have questions about filing a third-party liability or workers’ compensation claim, someone from 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 have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger 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.