On a national scale, fatal workplace injuries increased by 2 percent from 2013 to 2014. Minnesota employees who wonder about workplace safety might evaluate these statistics in light of their own occupational concerns and risks. For example, the majority of work-related fatal incident increases occurred in the private sector. Increases on an industrial scale were most pronounced in areas such as mining, agriculture, construction, oil and gas extraction, and fishing and hunting. In terms of careers most affected by increased fatality events, incidents involving the deaths of police officers and their supervisors increased by 17 percent.
Transportation, one of the areas with high instances of workplace injuries and deaths, represented 40 percent of all work-related fatalities in 2014. Increases occurred in deaths due to slips and falls as well as violence. However, fatalities resulting from fires and contact with objects declined. Although incidents involving the deaths of women increased in 2014, only 8 percent of workplace fatalities involved women. Approximately 17 percent of deadly incidents involved foreign-born workers, and more than half of the members of this group were Latino or Hispanic individuals.
These statistics may reflect increases in certain groups for the prior year, but the averages over a decade may indicate general improvements in spite of temporary increases. However, a nationwide trend toward higher numbers of work-related deaths warrants examination both by national safety authorities and local management personnel. An employer is expected to provide a safe workplace, and it is the responsibility of the company to verify that training and accommodations are available to ensure that a worker is protected.
A person who is injured while at work often has some medical and financial protection through workers’ compensation insurance. In some cases, however, the claim for benefits is disputed or denied by the employer or the insurer. Injured workers who find themselves in this position may want the assistance of an attorney during an appeals hearing