Federal data shows a big increase in workplace fatalities

Recently released federal statistics show a significant increase in workplace fatalities in New York and nationwide.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2016. The report tracks the extent and type of workplace fatalities throughout the country and, unfortunately, the most recent report shows that America's workplaces, including New York's, are getting deadlier. Most industries and most states saw significant increases in workplace fatalities, with transportation-related accidents being the leading cause of such deaths.

Workplace fatalities on the rise

Overall there were 5,190 workplace fatalities across the United States in 2016, which was a dramatic seven percent increase from 2015's figures. As the Insurance Journal reports, this means that 2016 was the third year in a row that saw workplace fatalities increase and it was the first time in close to a decade that they had exceeded 5,000. The fatal injury rate also increased from 3.4 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016.

In New York state the picture was equally grim. The state as a whole saw workplace fatalities increase from 236 in 2015 to 272 in 2016 with the fatality rate per 100,000 workers rising from 2.7 to 3.1. Much of that increase occurred in Upstate New York since in New York City itself workplace fatalities actually decreased from 74 to 56.

Most dangerous jobs

Transportation incidents were by far the most common cause of workplace fatalities, accounting for 40 percent of all fatal events in 2016. Workplace violence by persons or animals, however, went from the third- to second-leading cause of workplace fatalities after seeing a dramatic 23 percent increase. That put trips, falls, and slips into third position, despite rising by a considerable six percent in 2016 and 25 percent since 2011.

Logging workers faced by far the highest workplace fatality rate with 135.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. They were followed by fishers, aircraft pilots and engineers, and roofers. Many occupations recorded their highest fatality rate since the BLS adopted the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system in 2003 , including supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers, landscaping and grounds keeping workers, roofers, tree trimmers and pruners, drivers/sales workers, automotive service technicians and mechanics, and farmworkers.

Help after an accident

For workers who have been hurt on the job, the days, weeks, and months ahead are likely to be difficult ones. Not only will an injury require potentially costly treatment, but the time taken off work could pose a serious financial burden. That's why injured workers should contact a workers' compensation attorney for help. An experienced attorney can help clients understand how the claims process works and what compensation they may be eligible for.