Work-related deaths may be on the rise in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries that there were 5,250 cases of fatal work injuries in the previous year, which was 2% more than in 2017. In addition, there 757 homicides and suicides as well as 305 cases of unintentional overdoses, but the focus of the report was on work-related accidents.
Many of the fatal accidents were “unexpected”
One thing to remember is that reports like this are negative and do not, by their very nature, focus on the times when workers were saved by safety improvements or good training measures. Experts have made the compelling observation that many workers have actually become used to a safe workplace and that the resulting loss in alertness is what leads to many “unexpected” accidents.
The leading cause of on-the-job fatalities
The majority of fatally injured workers in 2018 died while driving on road, which is a relatively low-risk but routine activity. The second leading cause of death was a fall to a lower level. The highest fatality rates, as opposed to the highest numbers, arise during higher-risk but less routine activities like piloting a small plane or working with compressed chemicals.
What to do after a loved one dies on the job
Sometimes, workers are killed on the job due to the negligence of a non-employer third party. If this has happened to a loved one of yours, you may have a wrongful death claim. Though the workers’ compensation program can pay out death benefits, a wrongful death lawsuit can potentially cover much more, including non-economic losses. You may want a lawyer to evaluate the case and determine how much you might be eligible for.