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Worker deaths increased in 2016

Georgia employees may be concerned to learn that workplace fatalities increased by 7 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency also found that the rate of fatal injuries jumped from 3.4 to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers during the same period of time.

The BLS reported that transportation accidents were the top cause of fatal work-related injuries in 2016, accounting for approximately 25 percent of all worker deaths. Workplace violence, which spiked by 23 percent last year, ranked second, coming in at 500 fatalities. Meanwhile, workplace drug and alcohol overdoses jumped 32 percent between 2015 and 2016, accounting for 217 deaths.

A representative of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that worker deaths increased for the third consecutive year and 2016 had the highest total of work-related fatalities since 2008. She also noted that the U.S. opioid problem is impacting the workforce and that the government will work with private and public organizations to address the issue.

Workplace injuries sideline thousands of Georgia workers every year, making it difficult for them to pay their bills and support their families. However, most injured workers are eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits cover medical expenses and in some cases a percentage of lost wages during the recovery period. A workers' compensation attorney can often be of assistance in the preparation of the required claim documentation and in ensuring that it is filed on a timely basis. The attorney could also provide advocacy at a subsequent hearing if the claim is disputed or denied.

Source: EHS Today, "Are American Workers in Danger? OSHA Reports Dramatic Increase in Fatal Occupational Injuries", Sandy Smith, Dec. 19, 2017

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