The good news is the number of workplace fatalities is down. The bad news? The numbers are likely to rise. The number of deaths in the workplace is down 1.7 percent in the last two years, down 22 percent in just over a decade. These decreases are credited to efforts by employers, industry organizations and employees to increase safe practices in the workplace. Further, regulations regarding workplace safety have been clarified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the organization charged with workplace safety.
Even though the statistics show a decline, the number of deaths as a result of work-related accidents is alarming, with over 4,600 reported last year. The most dangerous occupations are truck driving and commercial fishing, with about 25 percent of work-related deaths resulting from driving and the fatality rate among fishermen exceeding 121 deaths per 100,000 workers last year. In response, the Department of Transportation laid down new rules to increase safety for truck drivers and a fishing vessel owners’ association has provided additional safety skills training for fishermen.
Incidents of violence in the office workplace have also decreased 5 percent in the past two years, but of 788 cases reported, 458 workers were murdered on the job. These were primarily robberies, though disputes between workers or assaults by husbands or domestic partners also constituted a significant minority of workplace murders.
There’s growing concern that while the numbers are down now, as the U.S. economy begins to recover and more people return to the workplace, work-related injuries and deaths may rise.
However unfortunate it may be to cope with an on-the-job death of a family member, Colorado residents may be relieved of some of the financial burden through death and dependency benefits. Family members in Colorado who lose loved ones in workplace accidents are often entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. Although they cannot bring back a family member, these funds may provide some peace of mind regarding financial concerns following such a loss.
Source: CNN, “America’s workplace a lot less deadly,” Les Christie, Sept. 21, 2012
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