Fatal Workplace Accidents are a Daily OccurrenceNovember 16, 2018
As technology advances and information spreads more rapidly, you might think that workplaces are getting safer. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Workers in Pennsylvania and across the rest of the United States are actually at a higher risk for fatal workplace accidents than they were just a few years ago.
Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows that 2016 worker fatality rates were the highest they had been since 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data backed up this claim, noting that between 2015 and 2016 workplace deaths rose by seven percent.
Is the problem really that big?
As of 2016, the fatal workplace injury rate was at 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers. This might seem like a low figure, but it works out to 5,190 deaths a year. Still not convinced? That means 14 people died every day while simply trying to work.
Declining OSHA oversight could be part of the problem. As government officials slashed the agency’s budget, OSHA had to cut corners on safety. Fewer than 800 OSHA inspectors focus on workplace inspections. With these numbers, they can inspect each workplace once per 159 years. However, they are not going to every workplace, and the industries being ignored seem to have the most worker deaths.
Who is at risk?
Any employee could go to work one day and suffer a fatal injury. However, there are groups whose risk for death is rising more rapidly than others. Here are just a few groups and their respective increase in fatal workplace injuries between 2015 and 2016:
- African American workers — 18.6 percent
- Asian American workers — 40.4 percent
- Workers aged 55 and up — 9.9 percent
Unintentional workplace fatalities also increased by 5 percent. However, workers in the transportation industry still face one of the highest risks with their annual death rate totaling 2,083, which is more than all of the above categories combined.
What can I do about my loved one’s death?
Unexpectedly losing a family member is never easy, and you may be struggling with some complicated emotions on top of handling everything else. This process can feel incredibly lonely, but you do not have to take everything on by yourself.
As a surviving family member of someone killed in a fatal workplace accident, you have options. You may qualify for death benefits through the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation system. These temporary payments will not fully replace your loved one’s income, but they can still provide much-needed financial support as you and your family figure out how to move forward with your lives.