Residents of Oklahoma may be concerned about the danger of workplace injuries, particularly after the release of a report about fatalities related to on-the-job accidents in 2016. During the year, workplace fatalities rose for the third consecutive year in a row, reaching a total of 5,190. This is the highest number of workplace deaths in the United States since 2008, when 5,214 workers were killed on the job. During 2016, workers lost their lives at a rate of 14 per day to workplace injuries and accidents.
Several significant factors led to the increase in workplace injuries and fatalities in 2016. The single most common cause of on-the-job deaths during the year was transportation incidents like auto accidents. Transportation injuries took the lives of 2,083 workers during the year. The causes of the workplace injuries and deaths varied, but slip-and-fall deaths increased by 6 percent and took the lives of 849 workers.
More disturbingly, the second most common cause of deaths on the job was workplace violence, which rose by 23 percent in 2016. Another factor that reflected a danger sweeping the country was the opiate crisis and the rising number of overdoses. Fatal overdoses in the workplace climbed by 32 percent during the year, a trend that has continued since 2012.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration expressed significant concerns about the rising rate of workplace deaths, it emphasized its commitment to enforcement and education to prevent the trend from continuing. Advocates noted that the rising death toll was less attributed to heavily regulated industries than to those industries with lower levels of safety oversight.
Workplace injuries can have devastating physical and financial consequences for workers who experience accidents on the job. Workplace injuries can be so severe that they can lead to long-term disability and even death. A workers' compensation lawyer may work with the victims of on-the-job injuries to pursue the benefits to which they are entitled and protect their physical and financial health.