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Work fatalities rise, NSC calls on employers to improve safety

| Dec 24, 2019 | workers' compensation

Arizona residents should know that there was a 2% rise in work-related fatalities nationwide from 2017 to 2018. The number went from 5,147 to 5,250, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS goes on to say that the fatality rate was at a steady 3.5% per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

There were other interesting statistics. For instance, 40% of all work-related incidents were transportation incidents. The highest number of fatalities were among truckers and sales workers. In addition, 2018 saw 12% instances of workers dying from alcohol intoxication or unintentional overdosing on non-medical drugs. There were 11% more cases of work-related suicides, too.

All too often, employers think that fatalities are just part of the cost that must be paid in running a successful business. The National Safety Council is calling on employers to reverse this line of thinking and to be more proactive in creating a safety-oriented culture. The NSC cited the findings above in a recent statement.

In that statement, the NSC explains that employers must take a more systematic approach to safety. Training and safety equipment are not enough; employees must know how to identify and eliminate risks, and they must be provided with an environment where reporting hazards is rewarded rather than punished.

Those who wish to pursue a workers’ compensation case may consider consulting with a lawyer. The workers’ compensation program can provide funds to cover the cost of medical treatments and for some of the wages lost during the physical recovery. It can even cover short- or long-term disability leave. Injured workers are allowed to file for these benefits as soon as they achieve maximum medical improvement. Still, they may encounter opposition. A lawyer may assist with the appeal if the claim is denied.

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