People in Philadelphia who work in fields with a high risk of serious injury may be encouraged by new government data that shows that the rate of fatal workplace injury may be dropping in Pennsylvania. The number of on-the-job fatalities in the state went down about 16 percent from 2011 over 2010, which closely matched the trend across the U.S. during that time period.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 186 deaths blamed on work injuries in Pennsylvania in 2011. While still far too high, that was significantly lower than 2010, when 221 Pennsylvania workers died. There were at least 200 fatalities each year for the past decade, so it remains to be seen if the lower figure is due to increased safety measures or was an anomaly. Of the 186 deaths, 50 took place in the Philadelphia area.
The national numbers also went down at a rate that closely parallels what happened in Pennsylvania. In all, 4,609 men and women died in work incidents in 2011, 17 percent fewer than in 2010, when 4,690 people were killed.
Locally, the type of accident most likely to cause a work fatality was a transportation-style incident. Sixty-nine workers were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2011. There were also 34 slip-and-fall deaths and 32 deaths caused by an object or equipment at the workplace.
Besides being a devastating blow to the family of the deceased, a workplace fatality usually also represents a huge economic loss due to lost future earnings.
Source: Citizen Voice, "Workplace fatalities down in Pennsylvania," James Haggerty, Jan. 4, 2013