As with car accidents and other such statistics, the exact number of workers who pass away on the job changes from year to year, based on a variety of factors. The economy can play a role, for instance, as a more robust economy may mean higher employment levels and more exposure to risk. Industry growth also matters as some industries — such as construction — tend to have much higher fatality totals than others.
Annually, though, the grim truth is that the American workforce tends to lose thousands of workers to on-the-job injuries and diseases. In 2018, for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 5,250 workers passed away while they were on the job.
What this means is that the BLS is not counting things such as disease from long-term exposure to hazardous conditions. Workers certainly pass away after such exposure, but this statistic focuses on the one-the-job issues, which are typically serious accidents.
The most common accidents in construction, the industry with the greatest death totals every year, are falling, getting struck by objects, getting electrocuted and caught between moving parts or two objects. Some of the main hazards in this industry include working on roofs, climbing ladders and using power tools and/or heavy machinery.
But it’s not just construction that poses a risk. With around 5,000 fatalities and many more serious injuries every year, it is clear that workers in all industries need to be aware of the dangers they face. Those who suffer serious injuries or lose loved ones also need to know what legal options they have.