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Construction Accidents Up, Despite Nationwide Decline in Work Accidents

According to newly-released statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), officials estimate that there were close to 4,500 people who were killed in work-related incidents in 2012. While that’s down from roughly 4,700 in 2011, some sectors, including construction, have begun to see an increase as the economy improves.
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Throughout the year, the state of Georgia saw close to 100 workplace fatalities. Although a decrease from the year before, many of these accidents were still preventable. Of the preliminary results of 2012, close to 20 were killed by workplace violence, nearly 25 in transportation accidents, 3 in fires or explosions, close to 20 in falls, slips or trips, 6 in exposure to harmful materials and another 10 resulting from contact with objects or equipment.

Our Atlanta workers compensation lawyers understand that there were increases in the number of workplace fatalities in various industries. The private construction sector was one of the most prominent, with an increase of about 5 percent from less than 740 in 2011 to about 780 in 2012. These numbers increase much more than the number of total hours worked did however, and this increase is the very first after five years of declines.

So who’s getting injured? Looking at the statistics, it’s clear to see that non-Hispanic white worker injuries dropped by about 10 percent in 2012. On the other hand, the number of injured non-Hispanic Asian workers rose by close to 15 percent. Accidents also declined for Hispanic or Latino workers, by about 5 percent. However, the number of younger workers, of those under 16, who were injured on the job is on the rise, too. More young workers were injured in 2012 than any year since 2005.

One again, transportation incidents were some of the most common fatal work accidents throughout the year. These accidents accounted for about 2 out of every 5 work fatalities. Of the close to 2,000 transportation-related fatalities, almost 60 percent were on a roadway and involved another motorized land vehicle. Nonroadway accidents, like those involving a tractor, accounted for 15 percent of these incidents. The largest net increase in fatal work injuries among occupations involved drivers of tractor trailer or other heavy trucks. The total for this occupation rose from 656 cases to 670 after updates were added — an increase of 2 percent.

In 2012, there were more than 140 multiple-fatality incidents (incidents in which more than one worker was killed) in which more than 240 workers were killed.

“To me, these aren’t just numbers and data – they are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who will never come home again,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “No worker should lose their life for a paycheck.”

Although we applaud the overall reduction in these types of incidents, there still are steps to be taken to improve safety in the workplace.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.

More Blog Entries:

Workers Have Many Reasons for Failing to Report On-the-Job Injuries & Safety Problems, Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog, October 10, 2013

Atlanta Work Accidents: Employee Safety in Emergency Situations, Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog, October 4, 2013