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Workplace Fatalities Continue to RiseThere is one thing that almost every American does every day that one day might be responsible for causing their death and that is going to work. Nationally, the number of workplace fatalities has reached the highest number in almost a decade at 5,190 workplace fatalities in 2016, which is up seven percent from the 4,836 fatal injuries in 2015 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The year 2016 saw the third consecutive annual increase in worker fatalities and the first time the number has exceeded 5,000 since 2008.

Workers’ compensation is a state program available to workers in Tennessee and Georgia who have sustained serious injuries in the workplace. It is also makes available to the surviving family members of workers who are killed on the job a death benefit which is a percentage of the deceased worker’s salary. Worker’s compensation includes a partial wage-replacement benefit, it covers medical bills related to the work injury, job search and job training services for those unable to go back to their previous job after a workplace injury.

Types of fatal workplace accidents

The BLS reports that the following types of fatal occupational injuries occurred in workplaces in the United States in 2016:

  • Transportation incidents                                                     2,083
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals        866
  • Falls, slip and trips                                                                849
  • Contact with objects and equipment                                 761
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments         518
  • Fire and explosions                                                               88

Deaths from occupational diseases and illnesses are not counted in the workplace fatality figures, but they are estimated to cause an additional 95,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

The BLS reports that there were 171 fatal occupational injuries in Georgia in 2016, and 122 in Tennessee with transportation incidents as the leading cause of death at 76 in Georgia and 42 in Tennessee.

Workplace fatality coverup?

Last summer the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), began reducing the reporting of workplace fatalities on its website as the agency cuts back on the amount of information that is available to the public. OSHA used to publish a list the names, locations and employers and circumstances of death for workers who died on the job. They replaced the list with information about U.S. workplace fatalities that resulted in citations for the company. In a Wall Street Journal article, an OSHA spokesperson said that the new format for publishing worker fatalities was implemented to protect the privacy of surviving family members of the workers who died.

Workers’ compensation protection for the families of deceased employees

When a worker gets killed in a workplace accident in Georgia or in Tennessee, their loved ones may be able to collect funeral expenses and a death benefit for the spouse and children under age 18 of the deceased worker. If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident an experienced lawyer can help you recover the benefits you deserve.

At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we protect your right to compensation when you have been injured doing your job. We serve clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and all the surrounding counties. You may call us today at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation.