Why Workplace Fatalities Increased in 2016

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Robert Golan

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 5,190 people died due to workplace injuries or illnesses in 2016. The figure represents a 7-percent increase in workplace fatalities to the highest rate since 2008. 2016 also saw an increase in overall workplace injury rate from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers to 3.6.

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Transportation Incidents

Transportation incidents top the list of workplace fatalities in 2016 with 2,083 workers killed, more than double the number of worker fatalities in any other category. In fact, transportation incidents accounted for two out of every five fatal injuries.

The increase in transportation incidents correlates with a 6 percent rise in deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2016. Fortune Magazine cites low gas prices, increased mileage, and unsafe driving practices such as speeding and texting while driving as contributing factors to the high fatality rate. With roads becoming less safe, transportation workers must take extra precautions on the job.

Workplace Violence

Violence and other injuries from people or animals saw a 23-percent increase from 703 in 2015 to 866 in 2016. Workplace suicides reached 291, the most ever recorded by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries since it began in 1992. Meanwhile, workplace homicides increased to 500, corresponding with a 3.4-percent rise in overall violent crime throughout the United States.

Drug Abuse

One of the most striking trends is the rise of worker deaths due to overdoses from alcohol or non-medical drug use, which increased 32 percent to 217. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 64,000 people in the U.S. died due to drug overdoses in 2016, and President Trump has declared the nation’s opioid epidemic a national emergency. That epidemic is spilling into the workplace, with workplace overdose fatalities rising at least 25 percent every year since 2012.

Do You Need a Worker’s Compensation Attorney in Queens?

If you or a loved one are the victim of a workplace injury, call Long Island federal worker’s compensation lawyer Robert Golan today. Contact us online for your free case evaluation or call us at (516) 586-3910.

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