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Fatal workplace accidents fewer, but not in all industries

Employees in some industries in California and elsewhere might be wise to take extra precautions when it comes to on-the-job safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports fatal workplace accidents nationwide in 2017 claimed 43 fewer lives than in the previous year. The number of occupational deaths in California remained the same as in 2016.

The 43 fatalities represent only a 1 percent drop, and although deaths in the manufacturing and wholesale industries dropped significantly, other categories claimed more lives than in previous years. Analyses of the BLS data indicated that fatalities among workers who were 65 years or older were more than ever before, and it made up 15 percent of nationwide workplace deaths in 2017. The oil and gas extraction, quarrying and mining industries claimed 26 percent more lives than in 2016.

BLS says fatal falls were the highest in 26-years of record keeping, and the number of workers in grounds maintenance jobs who died in work-related injuries in 2017 were at the second-highest level since 2003. When it comes to nonfatal injuries, truckers and other drivers and sales personnel reportedly made up the most significant number of victims in all industries. The highest number of fatalities were recorded among workers in the fishing and logging industries.

Surviving family members of loved ones whose deaths were caused by workplace accidents are typically eligible for workers' compensation survivors' benefits. The California insurance system for workers typically covers the costs related to end-of-life arrangements along with a financial package, based on lost wages, to help surviving dependents with day-to-day living expenses. An attorney who is experienced in this field of the law can provide valuable guidance and support.

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