Data on workplace fatalities from last year has been released and the news is not good for Atlanta workers, nor for any workers throughout the United States. As Safety News Alert reports, there were 4,679 workplace fatalities reported across all industries in 2014, according to preliminary estimates. This is a two percent increase in the number of people who were killed during their work, as compared with 2013. When the final figures are reached, the number of fatalities could go even higher and the total number of employees killed could reach the highest levels since 2008.
An Atlanta workplace fatalities lawyer should be consulted by family members when someone is killed on-the-job. Workers compensation death benefits could provide financial support to dependents to ensure that the untimely death of a loved one does not leave a family in dire financial straits. While workers’ comp is supposed to take care of survivors of those killed doing work tasks, insurers sometimes try to avoid payouts. Those who have suffered losses need to make sure they receive the benefits they are entitled to, even when they need legal help to do it.
Workplace Fatalities On the Rise
Over the past five years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has repeatedly revised death tolls upward when final numbers are revealed. The increase from preliminary to final death rates has been significant, averaging 173 more fatalities in the final numbers. If this trend holds true, it could mean that the final data shows almost 5,000 workers killed on-the-job in 2014. The last year in which 5,000 or more workers were killed in the United States was in 2008, when 5,214 workers lost their lives. Every year since 2009, the total death rate has been below 4,700 employees killed. The number who died in 2014 is almost sure to be higher than that when final data is released.
The higher death rate may be an indicator of improved economic conditions, which have sent more people back to work. Still, a good economy is no excuse for thousands to die doing their work each year. Every day in America, an average of 13 workers die. Employers need to do better than this.
Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights some specific areas in which deaths increased. For example, there was a six percent overall increase in the number of people killed who were classified as contract workers. Contract workers now account for 17 percent of the total number of employees killed at work. There were 797 contract workers killed last year. High numbers of deaths among contract workers can occur because these workers may not have the experience and training of full-time employees and may not have the same strong relationships with coworkers that permanent workers do. Police deaths also increased by 17 percent over the course of 2014, even as the overall number of fatalities due to workplace violence decreased.
Over the course of 2013, there were a total of 163 incidents in which multiple workers were killed in the same accident. This is an average of three incidents per week with multiple worker fatalities. Even one worker death is too many, and employers need to seriously consider new steps they can take to make worksites safer as people come back to work and accident rates rise.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.