Jan 2023

Fatal Workplace Accidents Reach 5-Year-High Nationwide, Data Reveals

silhouette of a construction worker high above the ground on a steel beam.

Workplace fatalities nationwide reached a 5-year-high in 2021, soaring above 5,000 deaths for the fifth time in six years, according to recent workplace fatality accident data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its latest BLS fatal occupational injury report for 2021.

“The data included in this report indicate workplaces have become less safe, and it is heartbreaking,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a recent news article. “Everyone deserves the chance to live their fullest life. This report shows our mission to save lives, from the workplace to anyplace, is critical, and NSC is committed to doing its part to curb this deadly trend and put an end to preventable workplace fatalities.”

Our Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys agree. Unfortunately, based on the latest BLS data, workplaces have become less safe. Any efforts to improve workplace safety and prevent fatal workplace accidents are welcome news to the legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl.

Workplace fatalities on the rise

Fatal workplace accidents nationwide increased by 8.9 percent in 2021 compared to the year before, according to the latest BLS data. In 2021, a total of 5,190 people died in work-related accidents compared to 4,764 people in 2020.

In addition, the fatal occupational injury rate (which measures the number of workplace fatalities per worker) was 3.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, the higher number since 2016.

Or, to put these numbers in perspective, someone died on the job every 101 minutes in 2021, according to the recent National Safety Council news story about the latest BLS workplace fatality data.

Why do fatal workplace accidents happen?

Workplace fatalities increased in 2021 for many different reasons. However, some of the largest increases in fatal workplace accidents in 2021 occurred due to the following contributing factors:

  • Exposure to harmful substances—increased by 18.7 percent in 2021 to 798 deaths compared to 2020.
  • Fatal transportation-related workplace accidents—increased by 11.4 percent in 2021 to 1,982 deaths.
  • Intentional injuries by someone else at work—increased by 10.2 percent to 718 deaths.
  • Workplace violence—increased by 7.9 percent to 761 deaths.
  • Fatal slip and fall accidents—increased by 5.5 percent to 850 deaths.

What are the most dangerous jobs?

Certain professions have more workplace fatalities than others. Based on the latest BLS data, some of the most dangerous jobs include:

  • Protective services related jobs, which include firefighters, police officers, and other law enforcement officials. These professions experienced a 31.9 percent increase in work-related fatalities in 2021 compared to 2020 nationwide.
  • Maintenance, installation, and repair-related work, which had a 20.9 percent increase in the number of work-related fatalities in 2021 compared to the year before.
  • Commercial truck drivers, which experienced a 16.3 percent increase in workplace fatalities in 2021.
  • Construction-related work, which had 2.6 percent more job-related deaths in 2021.

How can a Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorney help?

Fatal workplace accidents in Rhode Island and other states often become complicated legal cases. Depending on the circumstances of the workplace fatality, surviving family members may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation and perhaps even additional compensation.

This is why it’s important for families to talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer licensed to practice law in their state right away. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We have years of experience handling complex workers’ compensation cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result, we thoroughly understand how the legal system works in both states.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorney who puts your best interests first. We can answer your questions and explain your different legal options.

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