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Report shows increase in fatal workplace accidents in 2016

All workplaces in Pennsylvania and across the country have hazards. Even those that seem relatively safe -- such as an office -- have cords that could cause someone to trip and fall, among the potential for other accidents. Unfortunately, statistics provided in the Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the number of fatal workplace accidents increased by 7 percent in 2016.

A 7 percent increase means that over 5,000 workers were killed in work-related accidents -- the most people killed at work since 2008. Statistics indicate a rise in the number of minorities killed at work as well as the number of people killed as a result of a slip and fall, among other rises. Unfortunately, the rise did not come as a surprise to some.

According to some professionals, the increase is likely due to several factors, including a higher number of workplace shootings, a population that is aging and the opioid crisis. While these professionals believe that there are several paths that could lead to fewer fatalities -- including naming employees to serve as safety, health and environmental ambassadors, and encouraging workers to report all accidents, including near misses -- some speculate that the overall culture of a workplace could be contributing to the number of fatalities. Specifically, some believe that certain safety regulations are viewed as a production deterrent that could potentially result in lost deadlines rather than as necessary to protect workers.

Most people recognize that, while efforts can reduce the number of workplace accidents, they will never completely eradicate the possibility of them. As a result, employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance benefits. These benefits can help injured workers with medical costs and lost wages, among other financial consequences of an injury. In the event of a fatality, they can also provide certain surviving family members with compensation as they adjust to life without their loved one. Because compensation could have a significant impact on a family's overall financial situation, people who are entitled to them in Pennsylvania often ask an experienced professional to help them seek a fair settlement.

Source: hreonline.com, "Workplace Fatalities on the Rise", Carol Patton, Jan. 24, 2018

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