Workers in South Carolina and across the United States have good reason to be concerned with safety in the workplace. Fatal injuries on the job rose by 7 percent in 2016 over the number of such fatalities in 2015. The increase was also accompanied by a rise in the rate of fatal injuries, from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent employees in 2015 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2016.

One of the most common types of fatal workplace incidents involved transportation: A full one-fourth of all fatal workplace injuries involved transportation incidents, including car accidents and related situations. Workplace violence also rose by 23 percent. This means that the second most common cause of fatalities on the job was workplace violence, a sobering statistic. Another significant increase in fatalities was related to drug overdoses, reflecting the general public health crisis around opiates. The number of on-the-job overdoses grew by 32 percent in 2016, and fatalities related to drugs have increased by 25 percent every year since 2012.

The increase in worker deaths in 2016 was the third consecutive increase and the highest since 2008, when 5,214 workers were killed in workplace incidents. In 2016, 5,190 workers lost their lives from injuries on the job, meaning that 14 workers died each day. Advocates noted that highly regulated industries showed lower fatality numbers while industries in which there is little regulation regarding safety, such as food service, showed a higher number of fatal incidents.

Fatalities on the job are a major concern; however, most people injured on the job do not lose their lives. They can experience disabilities, significant decreases in quality of life and ongoing medical treatment and the accompanying bills. A workers’ compensation lawyer may help people who have been injured in the workplace to receive their proper benefits and protect their financial future after on-the-job injuries.