Work-related deaths and injuries are on the rise
Sadly, the Greenville News reports that, while work-related deaths decreased nationwide, South Carolina saw a 20% increase in on the job fatalities.
The state recorded 114 fatalities last year, up from 95 the year before. Of the total, 45 were transportation-related, 25 were assaults or other violent acts, 12 were accidents with equipment and other objects, 15 were falls, 7 were from exposure to harmful substances or environments and 10 were fires and explosions.
Jim Knight, spokesman for the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations, said the numbers include the nine firefighters who died in a Charleston fire last year. It also includes traffic-related fatalities and assaults and homicides that are not investigated by the department.
He said when looking at traditional workplace fatalities — other than the Charleston fire — the number of deaths last year was 34, down from 39 the year before. That would include falls, manufacturing accidents and exposure to harmful substances.
Also, the number of Hispanic deaths, primarily in construction, dropped from 18 five years ago to 6 this year. The department provided training in Spanish to try to improve safety with Hispanic workers, Knight said.
The number of worker deaths nationally dropped to 5,488 last year — the fewest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping track in 1992.
As part of my personal injury and wrongful death practice at Strom Law Firm, I have represented numerous clients who were injured at work or whose loved ones were killed as a result of an unsafe workplace. And sadly, it is often the case that work-related deaths and injuries are preventable if only the employer had done its job.