A recent study by the Department of Labor is showing a concerning spike in workplace fatalities across the state. Between 2017 to 2018, fatal work accidents in Connecticut rose from 35 to 48 lives lost, the highest number of work-related deaths since 2010.
The newest fatality rate has also shown to be 23 percent higher than the state’s average annual occupational fatality rate within a 26-year period between 1992 to 2018. Despite the fact that Connecticut’s workplace fatality rate is still lower than the national average, the uptick in worker deaths is still a cause for concern. These are the reasons why fatal injuries are back on the rise.
What’s Causing Workplace Fatalities
According to the Department of Labor study, the two working sectors experiencing the highest fatality rates in Connecticut in 2018 were construction and transportation/utility industry. Compared to the overall state fatality of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the construction industry saw a rate of 10.9 per 100,000 while the transportation and utility industry saw a rate of 10.2 per 100,000.
When looking at the information gathered on the risk factors leading to workplace fatalities in 2018, these were the five main causes identified:
- Transportation (36%)– Work accidents involving employees in cars, trucks, or other work vehicles, occurring both on and off the worksite.
- Workplace Violence (21%) – Accidents involving intentional injuries caused by another person.
- Falls, Slips, Trips, (18%) – Incidents involving workers falling from heights, falling from the same level, or falling from collapsing structures.
- Contact with Objects and Equipment (11%) – These instances include being struck by equipment, being struck by falling objects, or getting caught/compressed by equipment.
- Other (14%) – All other fatal work accidents, including fires, explosions, and exposure to harmful substances or environments.
Sadly, these statistics do not encompass the hundreds or even thousands of unreported injuries sustained on worksites. An article in the New Haven Register reported that some workers are afraid to disclose workplace safety violations to supervisors or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) out of fear of negative repercussions on their employment. Other workers believe it’s unlikely that O.S.H.A. will enforce impunities on employers, and therefore feel it futile to report injuries or hazards.
How To Protect Workers
While every industry is unique, there are some general safety precautions employers and contractors should be implementing to keep workers safe from foreseeable harm. The Environmental Health and Safety department at Ohio State University provides a generous list with recommendations employers can consider :
- Know your work hazards. Encourage workers to be aware of their surroundings, identify workplace hazards in their field that can cause workplace accidents.
- Provide means of reporting. Employees who feel involved in work safety are more likely to report issues to their supervisors regarding preventable workplace hazards. Employers should provide a comfortable method of reporting and train employees on the process.
- Maintain a safe work area. Keep workspaces organized and clean to prevent slip, trip, and falls. Make sure there is a policy for inspections equipment regularly and that workers are taking the breaks they need to stay alert.
- Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is one of the most effective ways to reduce fatal work injuries. Educate your employees on the importance of this equipment and make sure each worker is using PPE that is adequate for their size, build, and field of work.
- Establish regular communication. Employers who are in constant communication with their workplace are more likely to experience lower rates of injuries and accidents. Create a workplace culture where communication is encouraged, with frequent safety meetings to discuss concerns.
- Safety training. All employees should be properly trained on the safety hazards related to their field of work and industry. Employers are responsible for monitoring the amount of safety training required and suggesting additional training when needed.
- Create a safe driving policy. Employers can create a company driving policy to encourage workers to practice safe driving habits on the road. The policy should include discouraging behaviors such as using cellphones behind the wheel, speeding, or displaying aggressive driving habits.
Connecticut Workplace Accident Attorneys
Workplace accidents can be dramatically reduced when proper safety protocols are set in place. Employers and contractors who do not prioritize safety put the lives of their workers at unnecessary risk. If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident due to negligent safety practices, you could be eligible for compensation for any damages sustained.
As Connecticut personal injury experts, we always have your best interests and safety in mind. Our aggressive attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace will help you fight back by providing a free case evaluation to explore all your options for seeking justice against reckless distracted drivers. Contact us today for a free consultation and to explore your rights for justice.