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Deaths related to workplace injury increase

Regardless of the emphasis government agencies and employers place on eliminating conditions that could cause a workplace accident, workers in Oklahoma and in other parts of the country remain at risk of suffering an on-the-job injury that could kill them. Workplace fatality figures have now been revised for 2014, and they contain some sobering information.

According to the data, the number of workplace deaths was 4,821 in 2014. This represents the highest number of fatal injuries since 2008. The number of fatalities in the private construction industry increased by 9 percent from the previous year, and again the total was the highest since 2008. Deaths of workers who were 55 years of age and older were the highest they had ever been, with nearly 1,700 being reported. The total was 8 percent higher than the previous record.

Other industries seeing increases were oil and gas extraction and private mining and quarrying. In 2014, 144 oil and gas extraction workers were fatally injured, the highest total since the government started keeping track of this data.

Some occupations are more hazardous than others, but workplace injuries can and do take place in virtually any setting. People who are injured in workplace accidents often are required to undergo extensive medical treatment and often have to spend significant amounts of time away from work. Workers' compensation insurance is designed to help address these needs, and most employers are required to have some form of coverage. An attorney can determine whether an injured employee is eligible to file a claim and, if so, assist with the process.

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