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Work can be hazardous to your health

Some professions are inherently more hazardous. Firefighters, construction workers, those in the fishing industry and farmers are among the more hazardous professions. Industry regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, are intended to monitor existing safety regulations and help to implement new ones as the situation warrants.

Sadly, that isn't always enough. A report recently released stated that 58 Massachusetts workers suffered workplace injuries that resulted in death last year. That is a little more than one fatality each week.

The fatalities fell into a few main categories.

  • Falls were 12 of the fatalities, five of them in construction.
  • Car or truck accidents were an additional 12 fatalities.
  • Workplace violence accounted for six deaths.

The work accidents were the same type of accidental events as those which occurred the previous year, and so could be considered preventable. Apparently Massachusetts is one of only five states where public employees such as firefighters are not governed by OSHA. The report does not mention why Massachusetts is lacking this coverage for public employees.

Even more fatalities were caused by work-related illnesses and so-called occupational diseases. Last year 580 workers died from occupational diseases such as asbestosis and asthma and 1,800 were diagnosed with cancer caused by workplace exposure or hazardous conditions.

The report, called "Dying for Work in Massachusetts," was published as a joint effort between the AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupation Safety and Health (MassCOSH).

If any worker dies due to negligence on the part of an employer or third-party, the family of the deceased worker may sue for wrongful death compensation.

Source: Insurance Journal, "58 Massachusetts Workers Were Killed on Job in 2011: Report," April 30, 2012

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