American workplaces have seen a concerning increase in on-the-job deaths, according to a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A total of 5,190 people in the United States died from job-related injury in 2021 — the equivalent of one worker every 101 minutes. With 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers, this marked the highest annual fatal work injury rate since 2016.
This troubling trend serves as a stark reminder of the risks that many American workers face on a daily basis. From construction sites to underground mines, dangerous workplaces can lead to fatal accidents that leave families devastated and struggling to cope.
Leading Causes of Workplace Deaths
Work-related injuries and illnesses range from gas explosions to asbestos exposure, but some categories tend to have more fatal events than others.
- Transportation Accidents
More workers die every year from transportation accidents than from any other cause, with around 2,000 reported fatalities annually. Occupations that put workers on the road — such as truck drivers and garbage collectors — are often listed among the most dangerous jobs in America. In fact, workers in transportation and material moving occupations experienced 1,523 fatal work injuries in 2021, representing the job category with the highest number of deaths.
2. Slips, Trips, and Falls
The second-highest number of workers died in 2021 after slipping, tripping, or falling on the job. These incidents include falls from elevation (such as a roofer working at great heights) and falls on the same level (such as a factory employee slipping on a wet floor and suffering a head injury). In 2021, 850 workers died from these types of accidents, with nearly half of the fatalities (44%) occurring in the construction and extraction occupations.
3. Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
Exposure to harmful substances or environments caused 798 worker deaths in 2021, the highest number since the series began in 2011. These deadly events include exposure to toxic chemicals, extreme temperatures, and electricity. Unfortunately, drug use also plays a significant role in workplace deaths in the United States. In 2021, accidental overdose from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol accounted for over half (58%) of the fatalities in this category.
Other leading causes of worker deaths in 2021 were violence and other injuries by persons or animals and contact with objects or equipment.
Massachusetts Work Injury Attorneys
If you have been seriously injured on the job or lost a family member in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. An experienced work injury lawyer can help you recover funds for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and the wrongful death of a loved one.
The Boston attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have over 50 years of experience representing individuals hurt on the job in Massachusetts. We have extensive knowledge of the workers’ compensation system and work injury laws in the state, so we can help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us 24/7 for a free consultation on your work injury case. Our team lead by partners Steven and David Altman are available around the clock to assist you with your Boston workers compensation case. With over a half century of getting successful results for our clients we know we will get the best results for our clients. Call now for a free work injury case consultation.