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Federal workers are injured on the job, too

While we're used to hearing about work-related accidents and injuries in the private sector, there are particular jobs in the public sector that can seem equally hazardous. The fatality rate for federal workers over all is lower than it is in the private sector, but that is in part because so many jobs involve administrative functions with little risk.

Of all federal jobs, postal work is listed as the most dangerous. In fact, postal workers made up close to one-third of federal workers killed on the job in 2012. One mail truck driver in Maryland was killed in late June when his postal truck was struck by a driver of a pickup. Another out-of-state postal worker was shot and killed while on the job back in May.

The high rate of deaths of postal workers may be in part because roads are more heavily trafficked in recent years than have been in the past. This is especially true in rural areas where more people are on the road.

There have been complaints that handling by the federal government concerning the safety of workers has been in short supply. This may be in part because governmental workers have during the last couple of years been expected to do more with less. Budget shortages mean that dollars often not available to make the workplace for governmental workers safer.

Since employers control the environment in which workers participate, employers should also be responsible for paying medical expenses and loss wages due to a workplace injury. This rule should apply whether we are speaking of private or public employees injured on the job. Though as attorneys we wish circumstances would be different, employers often do not always take steps to make the workplace safer unless they also are forced to reimburse workers financially for accidents that have occurred.

Source: Federal Times, "Most dangerous federal jobs: Postal service tops list," Andy Medici, Sep. 9, 2013

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