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Report cites more than 50,000 occupational fatalities each year

Too many lives are lost each year due to workplace accidents, and citizens in Erie County should know that most of them are preventable. Proving negligence on behalf of the employer can be a complicated matter, but a legal team with experience investigating workplace fatalities may be able to help surviving family members bring a civil claim of wrongful death against an employer.

The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health released a report titled "Preventable Deaths 2014," which goes into detail about the staggering number of workplace fatalities that occur each year in the United States. The study uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other peer-reviewed data to come up with a figure that exceeds 50,000 deaths annually. The report does not state the number of work-related wrongful death lawsuits filed each year.

The report quantifies the cost of the deaths, including medical care and lost wages and productivity, putting the figure at $51.49 billion annually. The report also puts the cost of workplace injuries and illnesses that are not fatal at roughly $198 billion per year. Transportation incidents accounted for 41 percent of all of the workplace fatalities, followed by workplace violence, equipment accidents, slips and falls, exposure to hazardous materials and fires and explosions.

The NCOSH concludes that there is plenty of information out there on how to avoid workplace accidents. Cost and feasibility are not limiting factors, nor is there a lack of availability of the right equipment. The problem lies with employers and their failure to meet safety standards, as well as the government's lack of oversight.

This leaves workers across the country in almost every industry vulnerable to serious injuries and illnesses. The NCOSH timed the release of the report to precede Workers’ Memorial Week, which is intended to commemorate those who have lost their lives on the job.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "'Midnight Rider' Accident Highlighted in 'Preventable Deaths' Workplace Study," Hilary Lewis, April 23, 2014

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