The latest data we have for fatal work injuries in Pennsylvania comes to us from 2019 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers reflected in the 2019 study are based on figures from 2017, but the data regarding common injuries has been fairly consistent over the last few years. In 2017, there were 172 fatal work injuries in Pennsylvania, up from 163 in 2016.
Fatal work accidents in Pennsylvania were divided up by five categories:
- Transportation incidents (35%)
- Contact with objects or equipment (20%)
- Violence by persons or animals (16%)
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments (15%)
- Other (14%)
It’s worth noting that while Pennsylvania has a lowered its rate of transportation accidents, our commonwealth has increased its rate of accidents involving contact with objects or equipment and exposure to harmful substances. Contact with objects or equipment includes accidents involving falling debris, falling equipment, equipment collapses, or equipment pinning or crushing workers between surfaces.
Exposure to harmful substances includes any kind of exposure to dangerous chemicals, but these accidents can occur in a wide variety of industries. Railroads, oil and gas refineries, construction, and manufacturing all come with a risk of toxic exposure.
Why Do Pennsylvania Work Fatality Statistics Matter?
Occupational fatalities are important to track because they represent the risks that workers face each day in Pennsylvania. This information helps provide a picture of how responsible companies in the commonwealth are operating. Every company has a responsibility to prevent accidents, and tracking the worst of them provides insight into how many other types of accidents occur at Pennsylvanian workplaces.
How Can Employers Quickly Reduce Accidents?
With the establishment of OSHA, the reduction of fatal work accidents in the United States is often lauded as one of the nation's greatest achievements during the 20th century. Yet, OSHA can't keep up with the volume of workplaces across the country—there are millions of workplaces and only a few thousand agency inspectors.
Employers have no excuse for failing to provide a work accident without regulation. In fact, they're legally obligated to do so. To increase the protection of their workers, companies can take a few quick steps:
- Evaluate and minimize dangerous conditions
- Implement safety precautions, even for unlikely scenarios
- Provide high-visibility clothing and other safety apparel to workers
- Provide training to prevent fall accidents if employees climb ladders, use platforms, or work at heights
Speak with a Pennsylvania Work Accident Attorney
In all of these accidents, the employer has a responsibility to keep workers safe. If an employer fails to maintain equipment, train employees, or provide adequate safety equipment, then they are responsible for the damage that results. At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC, our job is to hold those employers accountable to fight for what injured workers need while keeping future workers safe.
If you're struggling with a workers' compensation claim, we can also help you make sure it's successful. Attorney J. Jeffrey Watson is a certified and experienced PA workers' compensation lawyer. He's ready to evaluate your claim and fight for the fair compensation that you deserve today.
Speak with our Pennsylvania work injury lawyers today at (888) 498-3023.