A preliminary report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workplace fatalities within the construction industry were on the rise in 2012 despite an overall decline in worker deaths.
The Bureau reported that there were 4,383 total workplace fatalities in 2012 compared to 4,693 in 2011, which represents a small decline. However, the number of fatalities within the construction industry increased by a full 5 percent from 2011 to 2012 even though the total number of hours worked by construction workers increased by only 1 percent.
This data serves as a reminder that construction is a notoriously dangerous industry and if safety is not made the No. 1 priority, fatalities can easily result.
The oil and gas industries also saw an increase in fatalities from 2011 to 2012 the Bureau’s data showed. The labor secretary attributed the increase in fatalities within both industries to job gains. However, he called the trend “unacceptable” and said that “[w]e can and must do better.”
“Employers must take job hazards seriously and live up to their legal and moral obligation to send their workers home safe every single day,” the labor secretary said. “The Labor Department is committed to preventing these needless deaths, and we will continue to engage with employers to make sure that these fatality numbers go down further.”
When a worker is killed on the job, his or her family may be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit if negligence was to blame. While a lawsuit can never take away the anguish caused by losing a loved one, it can help to provide the family with closure and financial stability during this difficult time.
Source: Risk and Insurance, “Latest workplace fatalities report: Good news for workforce, bad for construction,” Nancy Grover, Oct. 7, 2012