According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 5,000 workers were killed on the job in 2014. This means that every single day, 13 families lost a mother, father, spouse, or child in an accident that could – and in many cases should – have been prevented.
Construction Continues to Be the Most Dangerous Occupation
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 20 percent of all work-related deaths in the private sector in 2014 were in construction. Overall, 874 workers lost their lives due to construction-related illnesses and injuries. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths were the result of what OSHA calls the “Fatal Four”.
● Falls – 349 deaths
● Electrocutions – 74 deaths
● Struck by object (e.g., a falling tool or flying debris) – 73 deaths
● Caught in/between (e.g., being pinned by a truck or forklift) – 12 deaths
As OSHA notes, eliminating these causes would save over 500 lives each year in construction alone. Across all industries, that number would be significantly higher.
The Most Common Cause of Work-Related Deaths is Still Vehicle Collisions
While construction is the country’s most dangerous industry, driving for work continues to be the most common cause of death among victims of fatal work-related accidents. In 2014, transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of all worker deaths. The six primary causes of death in 2014 were
● Transportation incidents – 40 percent
● Slips, trips and falls – 17 percent
● Violence and animal attacks – 16 percent
● Struck by object – 11 percent
● Exposure to harmful substances or environments – 8 percent
● Fires and explosions – 3 percent
This leaves just five percent (or roughly 234 fatalities) caused by all other factors combined.
Work-Related Deaths in 2015
Turning to 2015, OSHA’s preliminary data shows that thousands of workers have lost their lives since the beginning of the year. Causes of death have ranged from being struck by materials falling off of a delivery truck to a fatal shooting by a fellow employee. Notably, OSHA attributes several deaths this year to incidents occurring in 2014, and even one from 2013. This goes to show that work-related injuries can have lasting effects that, tragically, victims are often unable to overcome.
What if My Loved One Died from a Work-Related Accident?
If you have lost a loved one to a work-related illness or injury, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. In New Jersey, workers’ compensation provides death benefits for surviving family members. In addition, if someone other than your loved one’s employer was responsible for his or her death, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim as well. To find out if you have a claim, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation.
Petro Cohen, P.C. | Attorneys for Work-Related Deaths in New Jersey
Petro Cohen, P.C. is a New Jersey workers’ compensation and wrongful death law firm that provides experienced representation for family members who have lost loved ones to fatal illnesses and injuries. If you would like to speak with an attorney about your loss, as well as how you can move forward, please contact us today.