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Common causes for fatal injuries among Illinois workers

A workplace can be hazardous for many reasons, including a failure by Illinois employers to adhere to job safety regulations. Fatal accidents and serious injuries can be prevented when companies create and implement safety plans.

The families of 172 Illinois victims and more than 4,400 workers nationwide coped with job-related deaths in 2013. Those figures were reported in the U.S. Department of Labor's annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The nationwide workplace fatality report includes statistics broken down by state, industry and conditions under which occupational deaths occurred.

The fatality numbers are compiled and compared to reports from earlier years. CFOI reports make employers, government regulators, lawmakers and the public aware of occupational hazards. Responses may result in new safety guidelines designed to curb on-the-job deaths.

The 2013 report showed that year-to-year fatal work injuries declined in Illinois and across the country. Thirty-seven percent of the 172 Illinois deaths and 40 percent of nationwide job fatalities were caused by transportation accidents. One in five employees' fatal injuries in Illinois was caused by slips, trips and falls or contact with equipment or objects.

Deaths by violence also figured prominently in the report, ranking second in frequency nationwide. Self-inflicted and other violence-related injuries placed third in Illinois but consisted of a higher percentage of occupational fatalities than violent deaths nationally.

Construction accidents claimed the most employees' lives statewide. Jobs involving material moving and transportation were the most dangerous. More than 60 percent of Illinois victims were males, ages 25 to 54.

The temporary or permanent loss of an employee due to injuries or death represents an economic loss to businesses. Financial hardships like unaffordable medical expenses and income deprivation are heaped on top of a family's anxiety about a worker's health or grief over a loved one's death.

Attorneys can help victims and families recover compensation for these losses through workers' compensation insurance and legal claims against negligent third parties.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Fatal Work Injuries in Illinois — 2013," accessed Aug. 06, 2015

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