In 2013, 4,585 workers were killed on the job in the United States, and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of 150 workers each day from hazardous working conditions, according to a recent AFL-CIO report, now its 24th year. Moreover, the report says that although nearly 3.8 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported, many injuries go unreported. The true toll claims the report is likely two to three times greater, or 7.6 million to 11.4 million injuries each year.
Over the past four years, the job fatality rate has declined slightly each year, according to the report, with a rate of 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2013 compared with a rate of 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010. North Dakota had the highest fatality rate among all the states (14.9 per 100,000 workers), followed by Wyoming (9.5), West Virginia (8.6), Alaska (7.9) and New Mexico (6.7). On the other side of the spectrum, the lowest state fatality rate (1.6 per 100,000 workers) was reported for Hawaii, followed by Washington (1.7), Connecticut and Massachusetts (1.8), and New York and Rhode Island (2.1).
North Dakota’s consistently high fatality rate (three consecutive years now) is due to its high hazardous jobs in oil and gas extraction and construction sectors. The fatality rate in the mining and oil and gas extraction sector in North Dakota was an alarming 84.7 per 100,000, nearly seven times the national fatality rate of 12.4 per 100,000 in this industry; and the construction sector fatality rate in North Dakota was 44.1 per 100,000, more than four times the national fatality rate of 9.7 per 100,000 for construction.
Other interesting findings from the report:
- The injury rate for public sector workers was 58% higher than for private sector workers.
- The construction sector had the largest number of fatal work injuries (828) in 2013 followed by transportation and warehousing (733) and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (500).
- The industry with the highest rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses continues to be nursing and residential care facilities (state government, 13.7 per 100 workers), followed by pet and pet supplies (private industry, 11.8), police protection (local government, 11.5), fire protection (local government, 11.2), veterinary services (private industry, 11.0) and skiing facilities (private industry, 10.1).
- Nearly 3.8 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in 2013. Musculoskeletal disorders caused by ergonomic hazards accounted for 33.5% of all serious injuries in 2013.
- Workplace violence continues to be the second leading cause of job fatalities in the United States (after transportation incidents), responsible for 773 worker deaths and 26,520 lost-time injuries in 2013. Women workers suffered 70% of the lost-time injuries related to workplace violence.
- The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $250 billion to $360 billion a year.
The report emphasizes the need for stronger OSHA oversight and enforcement to stem injuries and accidents. In addition, organizations throughout all industries need to step up their safety programs to help prevent workplace accidents and injuries along with implementing effective Return to Work programs to assist with getting employees back to work.
Caitlin Morgan provides a broad range of Workers’ Compensation solutions on a wholesale basis and also offers a Group Workers’ Comp program to members of the Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA), HOPE, and Leading Age Indiana associations. IHCA, HOPE and Leading Age Indiana are the state’s largest trade associations and advocate representing proprietary, not-for-profit and hospital-based nursing homes and assisted living communities, adult foster care and adult day services. Give us a call at 877.226.1027 to find out more about our Workers’ Compensation programs and how we can help your insureds.