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Facts about workplace fatalities

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There are many dangerous professions in California, and workplace safety is something every business and employee has to be aware of. Some industries may not be inherently dangerous, but accidents happen in all industries.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015 saw the highest number of fatalities since 2008 with a total of 4,836. That works out to 3.38 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time workers. When looking at this by industry, the private construction industry saw 937 fatalities. There were 745 fatalities for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. However, coming in at 38 percent fewer fatalities than in 2014 were the private oil and gas extraction industries.

Most fatal accidents were related to transportation. There were 1,264 fatalities or 26 percent of all fatalities attributed to roadway incidents. Of these, 629 involved a tanker truck, tractor-trailer or semi. For non-roadway fatalities, which came in at 253 total, 73 involved a farm tractor. Accidents that involved an incident where a person was in a confined space killed 136 workers, and 519 people were killed by being struck with equipment or an object. Other causes of fatalities did not involve machinery. These included 417 homicides and 165 unintentional overdoses of nonmedical drugs or alcohol.

Categories of workers can also help in identifying the different areas of risk. When it comes to age, 58 percent of fatalities involve those 45 or older with 650 fatalities involving someone 65 or older in 2015. Hispanic or Latino workers saw an increase in fatal accidents with a total of 903, an increase of 12 percent from 2014. Wage and salary workers were a bit better off than self-employed workers. Per 100,000 full-time workers, self-employed individuals had a 13.1 rate whereas wage and salary employees had a 2.8 rate.

Specifically, in California, according to the Insurance Journal, 2015 saw a rise in workplace deaths. Multiple fatality incidents were up from six in 2014 to 13 in 2015. Homicides accounted for 12 percent of the deaths, but slip-and-fall accidents were also a common cause. However, as with the national statistics, transportation related incidents were responsible for most of the fatalities.

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