Whether it's a slip and fall or a serious accident with machinery, a job-related injury can have devastating consequences for workers and their loved ones. A recent report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a grim update on workplace safety in the United States. In 2022, the BLS recorded 5,486 fatal work injuries. This marked a significant increase of 5.7 percent from the previous year. This rise is reflected in the fatal work injury rate, which rose to 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.6 in 2021.
What is the reported increase in workplace fatalities?
One of the most alarming aspects of the 2022 data is the frequency of fatal work-related injuries. On average, a worker died every 96 minutes from such injuries. This outpaces the 101-minute average in 2021.
The report highlights a disturbing increase in fatalities due to violence and injuries by persons or animals. These incidents rose by 11.6% to 849 in 2022. Notably, homicides accounted for 61.7% of these fatalities.
Unintentional overdoses at workplaces also surged, reaching a high of 525 fatalities. Transportation and material moving occupations were impacted the most, with 1,620 fatal injuries. These occupations had the highest fatality rate in 2022, driven by an increase in fatalities among driver/sales workers and truck drivers.
That's followed by construction and extraction workers. This group experienced a high number of fatalities, with falls, slips, or trips being a major cause. Protective service occupations saw an increase in fatalities, while installation, maintenance, and repair occupations observed a decrease. Similarly, farming, fishing, and forestry occupations had the highest fatality rate among all groups.
Despite the overall increase in workplace fatalities, the BLS report found that transportation incidents remained below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. However, roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles saw an increase. Also, exposure to harmful substances or environments, primarily due to unintentional overdoses, rose significantly.
Who was affected the most by workplace fatalities?
The data reveals concerning disparities among worker groups. Both African American and Latino workers experienced increased fatal injury rates, which surpassed the all-worker rate. Transportation incidents were the leading cause of death among these groups, with falls, slips, or trips being the second most significant cause for Latino workers.
A substantial portion of Latino worker fatalities involved foreign-born individuals, particularly in the construction industry. About 8.1% of all workplace fatalities involved women. While they accounted for a smaller number of worker deaths, they were disproportionally affected by homicide in the workplace at 15.3% of such incidents.
Additionally, workers ages 55 to 64 years old continued to experience the most workplace fatalities, with 1,175 cases making up 21.4% of the total fatalities. This marks an increase from 1,140 in 2021. The leading cause of death for this age group was transportation-related incidents, which claimed 455 lives. That was followed by falls, slips, and trips, which resulted in 251 fatalities.
What can I do if I lose a loved one due to a fatal workplace accident?
Losing a loved one due to a fatal workplace accident can be a devastating and painful experience. California's workers' compensation system offers benefits relating to workplace fatalities. To be eligible, you must be a dependent of the deceased worker. This includes a spouse, child, or other relative financially dependent on the worker.
California's workers' compensation death benefits cover burial expenses and financial support to qualified dependents. However, filing a claim can be a complex process. That's why workers' compensation lawyer Robert A. McLaughlin is here to help. He can ensure that your paperwork is properly completed and filed and negotiate for fair compensation on your behalf. If you have any questions or are ready to begin your claim, contact Attorney McLaughlin online or call any of his offices in San Diego, Chula Vista, or Temecula.