According to recently released statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009 saw a slight increase in the number of workers fatally injured on the job last year. The numbers are being called preliminary at this stage, but they indicate that Louisiana had a total of 138 fatal work-related accidents in 2009. That total is up from the 135 recorded in 2008, but much lower than the record high of 187 workplace deaths, which occurred in 1994.
The most frequent type of fatality according to the statistics were deaths associated with water vehicle accidents, to which 20 deaths were attributed. Other common causes of accidents were auto or highway crashes, being struck by an object or by equipment, falls from an elevated place to a lower level, and homicides.
Those industries experiencing the most workplace deaths included construction with 39 percent and transportation and warehousing with 25 percent. Within the construction industry, accidents during transportation and incidents of workers being injured by equipment or machinery were the most common causes of death.
Other interesting items to come out of these statistics include statistics concerning age and gender. Men accounted for 97 percent of the fatal workplace injuries in 2009. Of those individuals, more than two-thirds were between the ages of 25 and 54. Workers between the ages of 18-24 represented only 12 percent of fatalities, and workers over the age of 55 accounted for 19 of those killed in the workplace.
One distinction not made in the statistics is the number of fatalities that resulted in personal injury lawsuits versus those dealt with by the workers’ compensation system. Each of these situations is unique, but many times a worker’s death will be compensated through workers’ compensation if it arose out of his or her employment. However, in some cases, a personal injury or wrongful death case may also be brought outside of the workers’ compensation system.
Work-related personal injury cases can be quite fact-specific, so if you have questions about a potential case, you should contact an attorney to discuss your situation.
Louisiana workplace fatalities in 2009 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)