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Fatality rates high among truckers, construction workers

Anyone in Pennsylvania who works in construction or transportation should know that nearly half of all workplace fatalities in 2017 were in these two industries. On the other hand, the industries of manufacturing and wholesale trade saw their lowest fatality rates since 2003. As for why construction and transportation are so dangerous, there appear to be several reasons.

One is the growth of the "gig economy." Currently, an estimated 75 million Americans have no permanent place of employment but rather go from job to job, often taking on gigs for which they do not have the requisite experience or training. Besides the presence of young, inexperienced workers, there are many older workers who are doing things they are no longer agile enough for.

Many companies are hiring workers who barely pass their drug tests. Alcohol and drug overdoses in the workplace have gone up 25% from 2013 to 2017. In addition, with 40% of American adults suffering from obesity (a 10% increase from 2000, according to the CDC), many construction workers are simply unfit for the job they do.

The transportation industry, with its shortage of experienced drivers, is forcing all the qualified operators to go for long hours without sleep. Drowsy driving can endanger the lives of both truckers and passenger vehicle occupants.

Workplace accidents can be the fault of employees, employers or both. Regardless of who was at fault, though, victims are eligible for compensation; all they have to do is file for workers' comp benefits. These benefits can cover medical expenses and a percentage of the wages lost during the physical recovery. However, employers can still deny payment in certain situations. This is where legal counsel may be beneficial. A lawyer may assist with the appeals process.

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