Experience Brings Results

NSC calls on employers to help stem rise in work-related deaths

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,250 work-related fatalities in 2018 whereas there were 5,147 in 2017. This comes to an increase of 2%. However, the fatality rate was the same 3.5% per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Oregon residents should know that the National Safety Council has cited these and other findings in a recent statement to employers.

In the statement, the NSC calls on employers to take a more systematic approach to worker safety. It must go beyond providing training and up-to-date protective equipment and cover things like risk assessment techniques. Above all, those in leadership roles must help to shape the workplace culture into one that is more safety-oriented.

It starts with talking about safety hazards with employees. Employees should be able to identify risks and know the right ways to address them. They should also be able to report hazards without fear of retaliation.

The following are some of the other findings from the BLS. Forty percent of work-related incidents were transportation incidents, and truckers and sales workers saw the most fatalities in 2018. There were 12% more workers who died from alcohol abuse or unintentional overdosing on non-medical drugs. Lastly, there were 11% more work-related suicides.

Worker injuries and deaths can form the basis for a case under workers' compensation law. The workers' compensation program can pay for medical expenses, a percentage of lost income and even job retraining. Death benefits can cover funeral and burial expenses. Before pursuing such a case, victims or their families may want to speak with a lawyer. Legal representation may prove to be helpful in the event that the employer denies the claim since lawyers can usually assist with filing appeals.

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