A worker’s life should not be put at risk simply for him or her to earn a living. For this reason, safety regulations, equipment and systems, as well as extensive training, should be abided by and provided in an attempt to keep workers safe. Sadly, though, many employers fail to implement the appropriate safety measures. As a result, more than 50,000 hard-working Americans die a year due to work-related injuries and illnesses.
The report that reached this figure, Preventable Deaths 2014, was compiled by the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health. Amongst the study’s findings for the year 2012 were that more than 4,000 workers died from traumatic injuries suffered on the job. Additionally, up to 53,000 workers die each year as a result of occupational illnesses. Almost 700 of these work-related deaths could be prevented simply by adopting a limit on silica exposure in the workplace, which can cause fatal cancer.
The Massachusetts Council on Occupational Safety and Health found similar statistics. Last year, 48 workers were killed on the job and an additional 480 passed away due to an occupational disease. Up to 50,000 workers suffered serious injuries at work.
While these statistics paint a pretty clear picture of the dangers of unsafe working conditions, they fail to paint the picture of personal loss. Each injured or killed worker is so much more than just a number. Many have a family to care for, and being injured on the job can render those workers incapable of earning the wage they need to do so. Additionally, medical expenses can mount, making it difficult to make ends meet.
Filing for workers’ compensation may be an injured worker’s best hope of recovering the money he or she needs to maintain a financially healthy life. A successful claim might help a worker cover medical costs and lost wages, allowing him or her to properly care for himself or herself and his or her family. Even families who lose a loved one to a workplace accident may be able to recover survivor benefits, allowing them to get by during their time of grief.
This important program can be a lifesaver for many workers and their families, but the process can be complicated and frustrating. A legal professional can assist these individual every step of the way and will fight for the compensation they deserve.
Source: EHS Today, “Report: 50,000+ Fatalities Annually from Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” Sandy Smith, April 28, 2014