Work-related death toll on the rise globally

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2024 | Workplace Injury

There are an infinite number of ways in which workers can get hurt while they’re on the job. Most injuries are either chronic – resulting from repetitive strain or exposure to toxins – or are relatively minor acute injuries sustained as a result of accidents, assaults and other contained circumstances. Yet, very tragically, a significant fraction of work-related harm is ultimately fatal.

According to a recent study, fatal work-related harm has spiked globally over a recent six-year span to a degree that is truly shocking. While the study’s focus extends beyond U.S. borders, it does encompass harm that has occurred right here at home as well. 

What does the study say?

The study – which was conducted by researchers based at both the International Commission on Occupational Health and Tampere University – concerns data collected from 181 countries. The data analyzed relates to work-related fatalities that occurred from 2014 to 2019. Over this span of time, the number of workers who lost their lives due to their employment jumped by a mind-boggling 26% globally. In 2014, 2.3 workers were lost as a result of job-related harm. In 2019, that number climbed to 2.9 million. 

What exactly does this mean for the future? A senior research fellow spoke to the ongoing concern that this data poses in a press release related to the study, which was published initially in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment, & Health. She observed that “The burden of work-related diseases is a major global health challenge… Updated estimates are needed to understand the trends in the work-related burden of diseases, working conditions and their impact on workers’ health, as well as to identify where the current efforts fall short.”

As researchers and policy makers digest this information, workers on the ground need to understand that they are at a very real risk of dying as a result of their employment. Injured workers and loved ones alike can benefit from seeking legal guidance if they have questions or concerns about their circumstances accordingly. 

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