Pennsylvania workers might be interested to learn that the preliminary count of worker fatalities in the country for 2014 was estimated at 4,679, but the final count rose to 4,821, the highest since 2008. The rate of fatal work injuries increased from 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent employees in 2013 to 3.4, the first rise since 2010.
The death count reflects changes to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries file for 2014 after the discovery of new fatal injuries and revisions to existing ones following a preliminary release in September 2015. One of the changes was a net rise of 25 deaths in the private construction sector. With a total of 899 fatal work injuries, the total number of deaths in this sector was 9 percent more than the previous year and the highest number since 2008. Among the mining, oil and gas extraction, and quarrying industries, there were a total of 183 worker deaths, the most since 2007. Of these, 144 occurred in the oil and gas extraction industry alone.
Many of the fatal work injuries were the result of road accidents and slips, trips and falls. Road accidents caused 1,157 deaths, and slips, trips and falls caused 818 cases. Out of the total 4,821 fatal work injuries, 1,691 cases involved workers aged 55 and older. This is the largest figure documented for this age group and is 8 percent more than the second-biggest annual total. Additionally, Latino and Hispanic workers were involved in 804 fatal work injury cases, and the number of African-American workers with fatal injuries rose 4 percent to 475. White or Caucasian worker deaths rose 5 percent to 3,332.
When Pennsylvania workers are fatally injured on the job, their surviving family members could be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. They may want to meet with an attorney to learn more about the process of applying for them