The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its preliminary report on fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. in 2013. The good news is that the number of workplace deaths fell to 4,405 last year, down from 4,628 in 2012.
The drop is even more dramatic when we scan a bit further back into time: in 1994, 6,632 Americans lost their lives to injuries sustained on the job. The recent report does not include non-fatal injuries that can result in workers' compensation benefits. Reports on those injuries will be forthcoming, however.
In Rancho Mirage and across Coachella Valley, we have many times seen workers sustain serious injuries on construction sites, on factory floors, in highway paving projects, in workplace violence and in other circumstances. Fortunately, most of those who suffer on-the-job injuries will eventually recover after receiving medical care.
However, the recent BLS report is focused on fatal injuries. The leading cause of on-the-job fatalities is roadway incidents. A full 22 percent of work-related deaths are caused in those accidents that can include truck drivers, construction workers, delivery drivers and others.
The second leading cause of fatalities: falls to lower levels, which account for 13 percent of the tragedies. Those falls are often in the construction industry and can include falls from scaffolding and ladders, as well as falls through holes in floors and other mishaps.
The third leading cause: struck by object or equipment. This can involve accidents involving heavy construction equipment, forklift accidents, falling objects on a construction site (bricks, girders, etc.), and so on.
The fourth leading cause: homicides. It seems as if every few days, there are news article about workplace violence and lives altered or ended by injuries.
An experienced workers' comp attorney can help California workers injured on the job to appeal a denial of earned and deserved workers' compensation benefits.
Source: BLS, "Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) - Current and Revised Data," retrieved Oct. 14, 2014