Statistics on Workplace Fatalities

Written by Ankin Law Office

Half a century ago, approximately 14,000 workers were killed on the job. However, after the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) and the resulting policies that were implemented, working conditions have improved dramatically. However, workers still suffer from too many injuries and deaths resulting in the need for Chicago Workers comp attorneys.

According to the report Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect 2015, published by The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, fatalities and catastrophes befalling American workers are, unfortunately, still relatively commonplace. For example, the report states that, in 2013:

  • 4,585 workers were killed while on the job.
  • Approximately 50,000 workers died due to occupational diseases.
  • Every day, more than 10,400 workers were injured or became ill.
  • What’s more, almost 3.8 million work-related illnesses and injuries were reported, however, this number is believed to be much higher. In fact, the true tally is thought to range between 7.6 million to 11.4 million.

Which states have the highest worker fatality rates? As Chicago Workers comp attorneys would know, North Dakota has that dubious honor at 14.9 deaths for every 100,000 workers, followed by Wyoming at 9.5, West Virginia at 8.6, then Alaska at 7.9. On a more positive note, Hawaii had the lowest rate at 1.6, closely followed by Washington at 1.7, and then Massachusetts and Connecticut tied at 1.8.

While any industry can experience workplace fatalities, certain groups are more susceptible. Specifically, contractors accounted for 16% of all worker deaths in 2013, and construction and extraction workers comprised about 50% of those fatalities.

Another major cause of employee fatalities is violence in the workplace, resulting in over 700 worker deaths. Women bore the brunt of that violence, with females incurring 70% of lost time due to the injuries caused by violence on the job.

What can be done about this? The OHSA has both federal and state inspectors to review health and safety policies and ensure that these policies have been implemented in workplaces across the United States that fall under their jurisdiction. However, as noted by Chicago Workers comp attorneys, enforcing existing policies and procedures, providing more funding, and strengthening the penalties for workplace violations can only serve to protect the healthy and safety of workers both in Chicago, and all across the United States.

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