Fatal workplace incidents are on the rise in the U.S., including here in Ohio. That grim news comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Ohio Department of Health, and suggests that we still have a long way to go before we can say that all jobs in this country are reasonably safe.
According to The Dayton Daily News, there were 4,679 fatal work injuries nationwide in 2014, a 2 percent increase over the previous year. Ohio was one of the 24 states that had more workplace deaths in 2014, and the state’s numbers were even more dramatic. There were 184 fatal work incidents in 2014, compared with 149 in 2013.
Some jobs are more dangerous than others. Ohio’s construction industry suffered 21 percent more fatalities year-over-year. In trades, transportation and utility work, the rate jumped 23 percent. Manufacturing employees died 11 percent more often.
What accounts for these disturbing numbers? A former regional director for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration believes there are three causes. He blamed a lack of emphasis on safe work practices and training; a younger workforce in construction and manufacturing; and struggles at OSHA to keep up with reports of serious accidents.
A worker getting killed on the job is the worst-case scenario. A workplace fatality usually deprives a family of a beloved member, and can put it in serious financial peril. While cases where the worker survives the accident are less tragic, they can still be devastating. The victim can be disabled for a long time, impacting his or her ability to work and quality of life.