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BLS releases work-related fatality rates for 2017

In its occupational fatality report for 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted several trends good and bad that should be of interest to workers in diverse industries in Illinois. The good news is that work-related fatalities declined from 5,190 in 2016 to 5,147 in 2017. More than half of the states had fewer injuries in 2017 than in the previous year.

Injuries and illnesses in the private sector saw a decline for the fourteenth year in a row. Employers recorded 2.8 total cases per 100 workers, which is half what the rate was in 2003. Work-related deaths saw their lowest rates since 2003 in the private manufacturing industry and wholesale trade industry.

The transportation and construction industries, though, continued to make up the majority of workplace deaths: 47 percent in 2017. Transportation incidents remain the most frequent cause of death. In both 2016 and 2017, they contributed to roughly 40 percent of worker fatalities. Fatal falls reached a 26-year high, accounting for 17 percent of the deaths. Workers who died after unintentionally overdosing on non-medical drugs or alcohol numbered 272 in 2017, constituting a 25 percent jump. There was also an incline from 144 to 166 fatal injuries in confined spaces. Deaths caused by contact with equipment or other objects went down, though, from 761 to 695.

Thanks to the workers' compensation program, family members of fatally injured workers can be covered for their losses. The program also pays out for those who incur an on-the-job injury and survive. People who are in this situation might want to meet with an attorney in order to learn more about the options that are available to them.

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