Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bureau of Labor Statistics on Workplace Injuries and Death

Is the workplace becoming safer or more dangerous?

A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a preliminary report on work-related injuries and deaths; final data is scheduled to be released this spring. It is important to remember that such statistics are not merely abstract numbers -- they represent a great deal of pain, physical, emotional, and financial, to victims and their loved ones.

The news for Pennsylvania is somewhat heartening. Workplace fatalities in the Pittsburgh area are the lowest they have been since they were first charted in 2003. There were 18 workplace deaths in 2014, down from 29 the previous year. Across the country, however, the statistics are not leaning in the right direction. The nation has seen a 2 percent rise in worker deaths increasing from 4585 in 2013 to 4679 in 2014.

Common Causes of Worker Fatalities

The causes of worker deaths in Pennsylvania parallel those in other parts of the country --  accidents involving construction, transportation, farming, machine operation, mining warehousing, and slip and fall. Suicides and homicides also feature in the mortality statistics. Women are far less likely to die in the workplace than their male counterparts, because only about a tenth of the jobs in the most dangerous occupations are performed by women.

Examining the trends in worker injuries and fatalities in an effort to curb, or even eliminate, them, Pittsburgh's Area Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Christopher Robinson, reports that the decline in fatalities reflects increased enforcement concerning common hazards, improved partnerships with trade associations, and expanded outreach to both employers and employees.

In recent years, OSHA's Pittsburgh office is focusing on falls, the second leading cause of worker injuries in 2014. Robinson declares, "We’ve placed a great amount (sic) of emphasis on enforcement when it comes to fall protection.” In addition, a death due to a mining accident in the southwestern part of the state a few days ago, the second fatality

in that mine during the last year, and the third mining fatality in the U.S. since January 4th, has drawn attention to the stark need for improvement in safety for mining workers.

While OSHA and other government agencies join forces with employers all over the country to improve the statistics regarding work-related injuries and deaths, workers' compensation benefits are available to workers hurt during their employment. If you have been injured in the workplace, it is important that you contact a skilled workers' compensation attorney to help you navigate the difficult waters of bureaucracy in order to obtain your rightful benefits.


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