According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,690 American workers died from job-related injuries in 2010. That translates to a worker being killed every 2 hours, every day, from accidents and injuries caused by their employment. This is a frightening statistic, especially for people who work in dangerous occupations or have loved ones with risky jobs.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported that the biggest increase in work-related fatalities has fallen on tractor-trailer and heavy truck drivers. According to the DOL, fatalities among truck drivers rose 6 percent in 2010, bringing the total number of deaths in this industry up to 610. Total highway accidents among all U.S. workers were up 8 percent, for a total of 1,044 work-related motor vehicle deaths. Experts suggest that the number may have been even higher had it not been for the slow economy.
The private construction industry had the highest total number of work-related fatalities in 2010. The agriculture, forestry and fishing and hunting industry had the highest rate of fatal work injuries, with 27.9 deaths for every 100,000 workers. A total of 27 states, including Colorado, saw their fatal injury rates rise in 2010.
If a family member has died as the result of injuries sustained in a work-related accident, the survivors may be eligible for death and dependency benefits. Generally, these benefits are available to spouses and dependents of a deceased worker. However, insurance companies don’t always go out of their way to make sure that the survivors are aware of all of the benefits available to them. For that reason, it is always a good idea for the dependents of a deceased worker to talk to a Colorado workers’ compensation attorney who can help them understand their rights.
Source: The Trucker, “Largest increase in fatal work injuries involved drivers of heavy trucks, says DOL update,” Sept. 13, 2012.
To learn more about the benefits available to the survivors of those killed in work-related accidents, please visit our dependency and death benefits page.