Employers and employees alike in New Jersey should be familiar with the results of the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which was published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics back in late 2017. Time Magazine has published an article that ranks the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America based on this data.
At the top of the list was the logging industry with a fatal work injury rate of 135.9 per 100,000 workers (full-time or the equivalent). There were 91 logging worker deaths in 2016. This was followed by fishing workers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, roofers and trash and recycling collectors. It’s clear that the list has several expected entries and several unexpected.
Iron and steelworkers and truck and sales drivers came in sixth and seventh. The latter saw the highest number of deaths, which amounted to 918 in 2016. At the bottom of the list were farmers and ranchers, construction supervisors and extraction workers and grounds maintenance workers.
The surprising entries make more sense when the most frequent causes of death are considered. Transportation accidents accounted for 40 percent of all fatalities and so ranked first while workplace violence came in second, surpassing even slip, trip and fall accidents. Workplace violence includes not only harm at the hand of co-workers but also robbery and assault from customers.
Injured workers can take advantage of the workers’ compensation program and be covered for medical expenses and even for short- or long-term disability leave. Those who die on the job can be represented by a family member or another eligible dependent. Death benefits could be paid out in weekly installments, and a lump sum could be used to cover the funeral and burial. It’s important to hire a lawyer for the filing process. Claims are often denied, but an attorney can assist with the appeal.