For modern employers, providing a safe and productive workplace for their employees is a top priority. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an easy task. At the end of 2017, the statistics of workplace fatalities for 2016 were finally tabulated, and with disturbing results. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries in 2016 throughout the United States, which was a 7% increase over the statistics from 2015. This data represented the first time that the 5,000 mark was breached since 2008.
Disturbing Statistics for Workers and Employers Alike
These statistics are disturbing, not just for workers who are at risk, but also for the employers that have to try to keep them safe on the job. A closer look at the statistics will show areas where risk is the highest.
According to the most recent data as Business Insurance analyzed it, work injuries that involve vehicles and transportation incidents remain the most common type of fatal injury. About 40% of the total number of injuries were attributed to these types of injuries and accidents.
What was sobering to note on the recent statistics was the fact that deaths due to violence in the workplace were up significantly. In fact, this was the second-most common fatal event, with 866 cases or 23% of the total number of cases. Workplace suicides increased significantly, from 62 to 291, which represented the highest number of workplace suicides since the first year the data was collected.
Slip and fall accidents were the third-most common type of fatal accident in 2016, increasing by 6% over the previous year. Overdoses also increased and have been increasing steadily since 2012.
While the data for 2017 is not yet tabulated, these statistics show an upward trend that likely continued into 2017, and that is disturbing to both employers and employees.
What These Statistics Mean to Employers
These statistics are alarming to employers, because they represent a trend in failing to provide a safe workplace for employees. According to OSHA, an employer is required to “provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards.” If a workplace is not free from serious recognized hazards and an employee is hurt or killed as a result, the employer is liable for the injury or death.
An employer is also responsible to ensure that employees not only have the right safety tools and equipment, but also that they use it properly. The employer must make sure the equipment is properly maintained as well. Failure to do so could lead to liability if someone is injured or killed.
What These Statistics Mean to Employees
If you are an employee, you need to be aware of these statistics so you can make wise decisions on the job. However, you also need to be aware that your employer has a legal responsibility to provide a safe, hazard-free workplace for you. If you are injured on the job and the employer or the workplace is to blame, you have the right to seek compensation. If someone you love is killed on the job, you need to understand those rights in order to get the right compensation. If you have been injured, you need to seek legal counsel to understand your legal options. For workers in Georgia, attorney David Mann of the Mann Law Firm is ready to serve. Contact him at 478-742-3381 or, you can use our online form to set up a free consultation and learn more about your options under the law.