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BLS report shows just how dangerous U.S. workplaces can be

The unfortunate reality is that the number of fatal workplace injuries here in the U.S. remains unacceptably high despite advancements in work safety technology, greater enforcement efforts by state and federal agencies, and a greater awareness on the part of employers and employees.

To illustrate the scope of the problem, consider the recent release of the 2012 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the findings are preliminary, they shine some much-needed light on the total number of fatal work injuries here in the U.S., and which occupations/industries are among the most dangerous.

The CFOI determined that there were a staggering 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012, which means that the rate of fatal work injuries was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time employees. If this number seems unimaginably high, consider that it's actually a slight decline from 2011, which saw 4,693 fatal work injuries and a fatal work injury rate of 3.5 per 100,000 full-time employees.

The 2012 CFOI -- which breaks its analysis of fatal workplace injuries down into a multitude of subcategories from worker characteristics and type of incident to industry and occupation -- also made some of the following fascinating findings:

  • Transportation accidents were the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries (41 percent), followed by workplace violence (17 percent), contact with objects and equipment (16 percent), slips, trips and falls (15 percent), exposure to hazardous substances/environments (7 percent) and fires/explosions (3 percent) 
  • 4,045 fatal work injuries (92 percent) occurred among men versus 338 fatal work injuries (8 percent) among women
  • Workers between the ages of 45 and 54 suffered 25 percent of all fatal work injuries

The 2012 CFOI also rated the top ten deadliest occupations in the U.S. in 2012:

  1. Logging workers
  2. Fishing workers
  3. Aircraft engineers and pilots
  4. Roofers
  5. Iron/steel workers
  6. Waste collectors
  7. Electrical (power line) workers
  8. Truck drivers, traveling salespeople and other driving-related occupations
  9. Farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers
  10. Construction workers

It's important for all employees injured in workplace accidents here in Illinois to consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated attorney. Together, you can discuss your options for securing workers' compensation benefits and your plans for the future.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012," August 22, 2013 

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