The number of workplace deaths tells us a lot about the working conditions and environment of any organization. According to the survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there was an estimated 11 percent drop in workplace fatalities in 2020 compared to the previous year. It was reported that the recorded number of deaths added up to 4,764. While many linked the reduced number of fatalities to improved conditions in the workplace, this was not the case. Since the breakout of COVID in 2019, there was a mass layoff of employees, and many others were asked to work remotely. This resulted in fewer people encountering the workplace environment and is probably one of the most common reasons for the decrease in the trend of workplace fatalities. This was especially visible because despite the number of reduced employees in workplace settings, one employee death was recorded every 111 minutes. However, several factors come to play in such scenarios, and some jobs have a relatively higher risk of workplace fatalities.
According to the BLS, some jobs have more occupational hazards than others. These fields include the fishing, transportation, and construction industries, as well as occupations in law enforcement and health care support sectors. According to William Colarulo from Grungo Colarulo, “Since last year, we saw a 16 and 18.6 percent growth in fatalities experienced in the healthcare support and law enforcement sectors, respectively.” The most significant number of deaths were recorded in the transportation industry, which totaled to 40 percent of all cases reported. Minorities and women were also recorded as victims in many cases. According to the BLS and OSHA, the most commonly reported causes for deaths included fires, electrocutions, falls, exposure to harmful and toxic substances, and violence experienced by another person or an animal.
Keeping workers safe:
As an employee, it is the worker’s right to have a safe and healthy environment to work with minimum risks. According to the 1970’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employers are accountable for ensuring the safety of employees. Employers are bound to provide workers with a workplace that obeys all the rules and regulations of the Act. Even after that, some companies do not provide a safe environment which can lead to accidents that can result in life-changing and deadly injuries. According to OSHA, there are some significant places where companies lack in providing their employees protection, such as fall and respiratory protection, hazard communication, eye and face protection, and all kinds of machine guarding. Not just that, but companies do not regularly maintain equipment which can result in faulty equipment, such as a ladder with loose steps, that can end up causing a highly injurious accident.
If a company lacks in providing a safe environment and if that leads to an accident where a worker is severely hurt, they can claim workers’ compensation. It ensures that the company pays the worker’s medical bills and they also provide salary replacement for them, but still, the physical pain and emotional trauma through which the employees suffer is not payable nor what they deserve, yet in many cases, the injured employee is liable to compensate for mental and emotional trauma as well.
Third-party liability claim:
After getting injured because of an unsafe workplace, workers can place a third-party liability claim. The injured worker can place this claim over any faulty or flawed machinery and equipment used at the workplace as they are harmful to any employee.
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