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Latest workplace fatalities report contains good and bad news

All jobs in Georgia have the potential to expose workers to some type of workplace hazard. Risk factors vary among occupations, but the latest figures on workplace fatalities have shown some overall improvement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017 saw a slight reduction in the overall fatality rate from 3.6 percent in 2016 to 3.5 percent. The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017 prepared by the BLS concluded that 43 fewer people died on the job in 2017 compared to the previous year.

When focusing on specific industries, the BLS identified progress among crane operators, manufacturing and wholesale trades. These sectors achieved their lowest worker fatality rates since the government started collecting data in 1992.

Workers in mines, quarries or oil and gas extraction did not fare so well. Deaths rose among workers in those industries. The BLS also noted increases in fatal injuries among workers in confined spaces, and slips and falls continued to be a source of death on the job. Employees age 65 or older also experienced an increase in worksite fatalities.

The acting assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration acknowledged that the death of even one worker represented a tragedy. She said that OSHA would continue to help employers comply with safety regulations and take enforcement action when necessary to protect workers.

A company with a poor record of workplace safety might try to hide problems by discouraging workers from reporting accidents and injuries. A person in this situation who needs to collect workers' compensation to pay for medical treatment after an on-the-job injury could talk to an attorney. Legal representation could help the client overcome barriers to benefits. An attorney could even challenge an insurer that denies a claim by filing a lawsuit.

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Law Office of Perry Dean Ellis, P.C.
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