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What to know about workplace dangers

In 2017, there were 5,147 worker deaths throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. While certainly a high number, this was a decrease from the 5,190 workers who died in 2016. These figures from state and federal databases were included in the report Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect. The report was published on April 25 during Workers' Memorial Week. Overall, the death rate is 3.5 per 100,000 workers, but that rate increases to 10.3 per 100,000 for those over 65.

Among the workers who died in 2017, 2,077 passed away because of transportation accidents. Other common causes of workplace deaths include slips/trips/falls and workplace violence. In addition to the 807 deaths related to workplace violence in 2017, almost 29,000 lost-time injuries were reported because of violence at work.

According to the National Safety Council, preventable deaths have increased by 18% since 2009. This is in spite of the fact that workers have only seen their hours go up by 6% in that same amount of time. Protecting workers from extreme heat could be a way to reduce the number of preventable injuries and fatalities on the job. Public Citizen says that more than 70,000 were injured because of heat stress from 1992 to 2017.

An injured worker may be entitled to compensation from their employer regardless of why the injury occurred. Workers' compensation generally helps to pay medical bills and a portion of an employee's lost wages. Legal counsel could help an individual file a claim or determine what to do if a claim is denied. In some cases, workers may be able to file personal injury lawsuits if an injury was caused by a party's gross negligence.

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