Report: Workplace fatalities are on the rise in New York City

New York City saw a significant increase in workplace fatalities in 2014 despite a small rise in the same number across the country.

Across the country, the number of workplace injuries that resulted in death climbed 2 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, in New York City, that same figure jumped 38 percent, AM New York reports. Several factors, such as violence in the workplace, accounted for the rise. It is important for employees in the most at-risk sectors to understand the jump and also know how to protect themselves from suffering such an event.

At-risk industries

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that an increase in fatal work injuries occurred in the following industries:

  • Mining, which rose 17 percent
  • Agriculture, which rose 14 percent
  • Manufacturing, which rose 9 percent
  • Construction, which rose 6 percent

The BLS also reports that while the increase in the number of fatalities in the transportation industry did not significantly increase, they still accounted for 40 percent of all such incidents.

While there are a number of workplace injuries that can lead to death, the ones associated with a fall, slip or trip rose sharply. The BLS states that the number of such accidents rose by 10 percent in 2014, largely attributed to situations in which a worker falls to a lower level.

A look at construction

AM New York points out that construction projects in New York City have surged. The number of permits issued for new residential buildings has tripled since last year. Experts state that the push has led to an increase in construction injuries and fatalities. In New York City last year, 22 workers in the construction industry died on site, which is the highest number of such fatalities since 2012.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration points out that the construction industry is often responsible for a significant number of employee deaths and injuries. Falls are the leading cause of such incidents and caused 349 deaths in 2014.

Improving safety

In New York, public employers are required to develop plans to prevent workplace violence, though private employers are exempt. Companies across the board are, however, responsible for keeping workers safe. That includes providing training and safety equipment. OSHA has a number of guidelines in place for every industry to follow to improve workplace safety.

Workers' compensation laws

When an injury or death does occur, most employees should be covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance. As the New York State Workers' Compensation Board points out, very few businesses are exempt from having a policy. The benefits provided can pay for a worker's medical expenses and missed wages. In the event of a fatality, workers' compensation benefits may be extended to the employee's spouse, minor children or other dependents. In some situations, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents or other family members may receive the benefits, which include missed wages and funeral expenses.

Anyone who has questions regarding New York's workers' compensation policies should consult with an attorney