The number of workplace deaths in 2010 was virtually the same as the number of workplace deaths reported in 2009, a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found. According to the initial data, 4,547 fatal workplace incidents occurred last year, down only slightly from 4,551 in 2009.
All in all, the federal government found there were 3.5 deaths per every 100,000 workers in 2010. Expected increases in the final data would increase the preliminary figure by 3 percent (136 worker fatalities), as has happened in the last 3 years, which would signify an increase in workplace fatalities for last year.
Some for the key findings in the 2010 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:
• Fatal work injuries in the private mining industry rose from 99 in 2009 to 172 in 2010, an increase of 74 percent. These numbers include the deadly cave-in at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, which killed 29, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers.
• Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector fell 10 percent from 2009 to 1010 and are down nearly 40 percent since 2006. However, the BLS notes that economic factors are partly responsible for this decline, as the construction industry has been one of the hardest hit in the slow economy.
• Consequently, fatal falling injuries, which occur most in the construction occupation, were down 2 percent from 645 in 2009 to 635 in 2010. Overall, fatal falls in the private construction industry have dropped 25 percent since peaking at 847 in 2007.
• Fatal struck-by injuries and electrocutions also dropped slightly in 2009, while fatalities involving exposure to harmful substances or environments were up.
• The number of fatal injuries among wage and salary workers increased by 2 percent in 2010.
• Work-related fatalities resulting from fires more than doubled from 53 in 2009 to 109 in 2010–the highest count since 2003.
• Workplace homicides declined 7 percent in 2010 to the lowest total ever recorded by the fatality census, but workplace homicides involving women increased by 13 percent.
• Fatal work injuries involving farming, fishing, and forestry workers increased by 9 percent in 2010. Other industries in which worker fatalities increased were farming / agricultural, up 8 percent to 156 in 2010, and logging, which saw a 6 percent increase in worker fatalities.
Often, when attorneys begin to examine a case of serious injury or death in the workplace, we determine that the injury was caused by a defective product. Workers may have been exposed to equipment without proper safety guards, defective parts or that were not properly maintained.
Industrial or manufacturing jobs also pose risks to workers resulting from environmental factors. This may include exposure to toxic chemicals, airborne particles like dust, or even excessive noise, heat, cold or light that may cause damage to the body.
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