The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 4,693 workers died on the job in 2011, three more than were killed in 2010. However, the rate of workplace fatalities fell slightly to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time workers.
Most workplace fatalities in 2011 occurred in transportation-related accidents. According to the report:
- Transportation accidents killed 1,957 workers
- Contact with objects and equipment resulted in 710 deaths
- Falls, slips and trips killed 681 workers.
- Exposure to harmful substances resulted in 419 deaths.
On average, 13 workers die on the job across the country each day. Many more are injured in job-related accidents that were entirely preventable.
The report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has a separate category for contract workers, who may not have the same safety protections as full-time workers. According to the data, 542 contract workers died on the job in 2011, accounting for approximately 12 percent of all worker fatalities that year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been making efforts to reduce the number of workers killed as a result of accidents and occupational illnesses. It has also been increasing its focus on reducing the risk to workers from violence in the workplace. In 2011, there were 460 fatalities as a result of workplace violence, including homicide.
Michael Parsons is a workers’ compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they deserve.