When the Colorado Department of Labor reports on workplace fatalities, many members of the Denver public likely believe that the number is an accurate representation of everyone who died in a tragic workplace accident. The truth is, however, that many state departments of labor are limited in which work-related deaths they can investigate and report.
Some states are unable to report deaths in the transportation industry. Others may not cover workplace violence. With this in mind, it is important that anyone in Colorado looking into fatal workplace accidents remember that the number reported may actually be much fewer than the actual number of deaths.
Although it did not happen in Colorado, North Carolina has recently attracted attention for the large gap in the number of deaths reported by its department of labor and the number reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The discrepancy was noted in a recent report by the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health. The organization found that the number of deaths reported by the Bureau was roughly three times as high as those reported by the Department.
When researchers delved deeper, they found that the Department of Labor did not have the jurisdiction to report on certain industries, such as transportation. Moreover, there were certain kinds of work-related deaths that were outside its purview.
It is important to remember that the family of anyone in Colorado who is killed in a fatal workplace accident can likely receive death and dependency benefits. Whether these employees’ deaths are reported by the Colorado Department of Labor or not, families can work with a death benefits attorney to file for the death and dependency benefits they deserve.
Source: Huffington Post, “North Carolina Workplace Deaths Nearly Three Times That Reported By State: Study,” Jillian Berman, April 30, 2013