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Are fatal work accidents common in today's workforce?

When you work in construction or industrial workplaces in Maryland, you know that you're at a higher risk of injury. What you may be surprised at are the facts surrounding injuries and how many of those injuries are actually fatal.

You may not hear about fatalities at work often, but are fatal work injuries really that common? They aren't as common as they used to be. Updated information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2013, there were approximately 3.3 fatal work injuries for every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. That's a fairly low amount, considering the number of people being tallied.

The lower rate of 3.3 per 100,000 has been reached after the work fatality rates dropped for several years. In 2006, for instance, there were 4.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers. Many of these fatal injuries were a result of roadway incidents, with 24 percent of the 4,585 fatal injuries taking place on the roads. These injuries may include pedestrian accident with vehicles or other issues.

Including roadway incidents and other incidents related to travel, you can see that 41 percent of the total deaths were a result of vehicle-related incidents at work. Being exposed to harmful substances accounted for only 7 percent of the fatalities, and falls, trips, and slips accounted for 16 percent.

When more than one worker was killed in an incident at work, it was most likely to be due to travel-related incidents such as aircraft travel or roadway crashes. Fires and explosions resulted in 16 percent of multiple-fatality incidents, and homicides made up 17 percent.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Number of fatal work injuries, 1992-2013," accessed June 15, 2015

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