An annual report from the AFL_CIO on workplace fatalities and injuries showed many workers are still at risk for on-the-job injuries.
In May 2014, the AFL-CIO released “Death on the Job,” its 23rd annual report about the number of deaths and injuries in U.S. workplaces. The report shows that the country has made progress in workplace safety since Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act guaranteeing workers in the U.S. the right to safe workplaces in 1970. However, there are still a shocking number of workplace injuries and fatalities. Workers in Georgia should be aware of the risks of injury while working and the benefits to which they may be entitled if injured on the job.
The report analyzed fatality and injury statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. The report showed that 4,628 people died from on-the-job injuries in 2012, and approximately 50,000 people died from occupational diseases such as asbestosis, silicosis and some types of cancer. The total death rate averages out to about 150 worker fatalities per day. The 2012 worker fatality rate of 3.4 deaths per 100,000 workers has not changed significantly over the previous four years, according to the report.
Additionally, 3.8 million workers reported injury or illness due to their jobs in 2012. Researchers working on the report noted that the actual number of workplace injuries and illnesses is probably two or three times as high, meaning that there were likely 7.6 million to 11.4 million workplace injuries and illnesses in 2012, because many injuries go unreported.
The report showed that musculoskeletal injuries and disorders from work-related ergonomic hazards are becoming more of a problem. The report revealed that such injuries account for 34.7 percent of all serious on-the-job injuries. Another increasingly-common cause for workplace injuries and fatalities is workplace violence, which was responsible for 803 workers’ deaths and 24,610 employee injuries in 2012. Female employees were disproportionately victims of workplace violence; two-thirds of workplace violence victims were women.
The AFL-CIO report shows that the workplace injuries and fatalities are an issue that many workers face. Employees should be aware of their rights when injured on-the-job. Georgia workers who are injured while working are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits without needing to show that their employers were at fault for the accidents that caused the injuries. An injured employee may be eligible for payment of their medical bills, disability payments while unable to work, payment for permanent disability and even vocational training and job placement assistance if unable to return to the same position. If you have been injured while working, talk to a skilled Georgia workers’ compensation attorney who can help you obtain the benefits that you need to aid in your recovery.
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