Workplace safety must be taken seriously, especially in dangerous occupations. There is always room for improvement, always ways to lower the number of people who die on the job each year.
With that being said, looking at those numbers provides some perspective. According to an article from Forbes, 5,250 people lost their lives at work in 2018 based on recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, about 35,000 people are killed in car accidents each year. People are approximately 7 times more likely to die in a car accident than a work accident.
Perhaps not surprisingly, most fatal work accidents actually are car accidents. In 2018, 40% of on-the-job fatalities resulted from traffic accidents. In other words, people whose occupations do not require time on the road are even less likely to be killed at work.
What is surprising is that the second most common cause of on-the-job deaths in 2018 was violence from people or animals, overtaking the previous year’s runner-up, which was falling.
How Did Minnesota Fare In Workplace Deaths?
Wyoming had the highest workplace fatality rate in 2018, at 11.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. Our neighbors in North Dakota were near the top of the list, with 9.6. In Minnesota, we were on the low end of the spectrum, but by no means the lowest, with 2.7 deaths per 100,000 workers. Delaware came in with the lowest workplace fatality rate at 1.6.
While workplace fatalities are not as common as some may think, we believe that even a single death on the job is one too many. Thankfully, new standards, procedures and equipment are being brought into workplaces every day to keep workers safe. As we move into 2020, we will continue to stand beside those who are injured on the job to help them get the benefits they need to move forward, and to seek justice for families who lose loved ones in the workplace.