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Most common causes of workplace deaths and injuries

Although stress is often associated with a hard day's work, other unfortunate situations can also happen in Pennsylvania and throughout the entire United States. Injuries and workplace deaths are always a possibility if negligence occurs, particularly if there is a lack of safety policies in place or if safety measures are not followed properly. A research institute recently released its findings on the most common workplace injuries that occurred in 2012 and the fatal accidents that happened in road construction areas.

The most common workplace injury is overexertion, which contributed 25.3 percent of the total workplace injuries that occurred in 2012. Overexertion led to $15.1 billion in workers' compensation claims. The second most common injury was falls, which happened on the same level of work areas with 15.4 percent, followed by being hit by equipment or objects, which made up 8.9 percent of injuries with a cost of $5.3 billion. Falls to the lower levels of work areas came in a close fourth at 8.6 percent and other bodily reactions and exertions was the fifth most common at 7.2 percent. Overall, these injuries cost the government over $25 billion in workers' compensation claims.

Meanwhile, a total of 105 fatal worker accidents occurred in road construction areas in 2013. Pennsylvania ranked fourth in such accidents. Texas and Florida were the top two states with the most deaths, followed by Illinois. California rounded out the top five. The most common fatal accident was the death of pedestrian workers due to motor vehicle accidents. Over 60 percent of work-related deaths of this type were from the following professions: tractor-trailer and heavy-truck drivers, construction workers, workers who maintain highways, workers who operate construction equipment, extraction workers and supervisors.

Despite the pressing concerns of injuries and deaths, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration stated that work-related deaths declined by over 65 percent. Occupational illnesses also decreased. Pennsylvania companies, however, should not be complacent and should continue to emphasize the need for workers' safety. Otherwise, the companies may be held legally accountable by the workplace accident victims and their families.

Source: Claims Journal, "Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries: Liberty Mutual," Denise Johnson, Jan. 14, 2015

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