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Preliminary BLS Report: Work-Related Deaths Up in 2014

The preliminary Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2014, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicates a 2 percent increase in the number of deadly work accidents compared to 2013. worker5

Early national estimates are that 4,679 workers were killed on the job last year, compared to 4,585 in 2013. Still, the rate of deaths for both years was 3.3 workers per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

Although revised final data from the report won’t be available until spring, it’s safe to say the increase is not a fluke or within the margin of error. That’s because over the course of the last five years, there has been a net increase 173 deaths on average a year. In 2011, it was up 2 percent from the previous year, while in 2012, the figure climbed 6 percent.

It’s not yet known how Georgia specifically fared, but we do know there were 70 occupational fatalities recorded here in 2013. That was the lowest annual figure since the Bureau started tracking it in 1992. There has been a downward trend in work-related deaths in this state since 2004.

Of those Georgia work deaths recorded in 2013:

  • 24 were transportation-related
  • 17 were from contact with objects and equipment
  • 14 were from slips, trips and falls

These accounted for more than three-quarters of all deadly work accidents in the state.

Nationally in 2014, private goods-producing industries saw a 9 percent increase in fatal work injuries, particularly in:

  • Mining (up 17 percent)
  • Agriculture (up 14 percent)
  • Manufacturing (up 9 percent)
  • Construction (up 6 percent)

Also worth noting is that the incidence of fatal falls, slips and trips rose 10 percent last year, from 724 in 2013 to 793 in 2014. Mostly, this was attributed to falls from a higher level to a lower one. In cases where the height of the fall was recorded in official data, two-thirds involved falls from 20 feet or less.

Also troubling is the fact that women incurred 13 percent more fatal work injuries in 2014 than they did in 2013. In total, women accounted for 8 percent of all work-related deaths last year.

Work-related deaths among police officers and their supervisors increased by 17 percent from 88 to 103.

Self-employed workers saw a 10 percent spike in fatal work accidents, from 950 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2014.

Older workers also saw an uptick. Those aged 55 and older increased 9 percent, to 1,621. That’s the highest yearly total since the fatality census first started in 1992. There were even eight workers over the age of 90 who lost their lives in work-related incidents.

While incidents of worker deaths from fires dropped by 35 percent to 53 in 2014, the number of deaths attributed to workplace explosions increased by 25 percent to 84 incidents that year.

There was some good news, though. Violence resulting in workplace deaths was down slightly, despite a number of high-profile cases, such as the on-air slayings of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Virginia by a former station employee in August. There were 749 violent deaths at work in 2014, compared to 773 in 2013. It’s still far too many. Most frequently in cases involving workplace homicide, women were the victims, and the greatest share of assailants – 32 percent – were domestic partners or relatives. In cases involving men, it most often involved a robbery gone awry.

In Georgia, if you suffer a fatal work injury, your dependents are entitled to two-thirds your average weekly wage, or a maximum of $550 per week for a death on or after July 1, 2015. Dependents include:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Children
  • Dependent step-children

A widowed spouse with no children is entitled to a total amount of $220,000, unless he or she remarries or begins cohabitating with another in a romantic relationship.

For information on Atlanta work injury compensation, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., at 1-404-303-7770.

Additional Resources:

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2014, Sept. 17, 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics

More Blog Entries:

Christiana Care Services v. Davis – Workers’ Compensation Settlement Agreements Binding, Nov. 22, 2015, Georgia Work Injury Attorney Blog