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BLS releases sobering workplace fatality figures

Workplace fatalities in Georgia and around the country increased by a worrying 7 percent in 2016 according to the latest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of workers killed in on-the-job accidents has now risen for three consecutive years, and the total death toll in 2016 was the highest in almost a decade according to the federal watchdog.

The BLS report reveals that pilots and workers in the logging and fishing industries have America's most dangerous jobs and transportation accidents are the most common cause of worker deaths. The figures indicate that there are an average of 3.6 worker deaths for every 100,000 full time employees in the economy as a whole, but that number rises to 135.9 fatal accidents per 100,000 employees among logging workers. Truck drivers, farmers and roofers are also far more likely to be killed while at work.

While transportation accidents once again claimed the most lives, workplace violence has now passed slips and falls to become the second most common cause of worker deaths in the United States. Workplace homicides rose by 20 percent to 500 in 2016, and women accounted for a disproportionate number of the victims. Nearly one in four of the women killed while on the job in 2016 was a homicide victim according to the BLS.

Even the most rigorous safety protocols cannot prevent all workplace accidents, and the workers' compensation program has been put into place to provide injured workers with financial support and shield employers from lawsuits filed by on-the-job accident victims. Attorneys with experience in this area may help injured workers to navigate the sometimes confusing claims process, and they could alternatively suggest pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in situations where employers ignored workplace safety issues to the point where serious injury or death became reasonably foreseeable.

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