Motor vehicle accidents cause lots of fatal work injuries

As has been the case over the years, motor vehicle accidents and other transportation-related incidents were the number 1 cause of fatal work-related injuries in the United States.

In 2021, there were just under 2,000 work-related deaths due to transportation. This was higher than in 2020 but slightly lower than in 2019. Overall in 2021, there were just over 5,000 workplace fatalities. This means about 4 out of 10 work-related deaths were transportation-related.

To round out the common causes of workplace fatalities in 2021,

  • Trips, slips and falls caused about 800 deaths in 2021
  • About 700 deaths were related to workplace violence or other injuries by animals or other people
  • Contact with equipment also caused about 700 deaths, while around 800 deaths happened after exposure to toxins, including infectious diseases
  • A handful of workplace deaths were blamed on explosions and fires.

The list of most deadly jobs continues to include some surprises

The list of the deadliest jobs has not changed much over the years. However, some of the occupations on the list might surprise Scranton residents.

For example, those who drive for a living, like truckers and salespeople, have a relatively high rate of fatal accidents on the job. Those who fly for a living as well as those who collect garbage or recycling also are more prone to fatal accidents.

Other dangerous occupations may come as less of a surprise. For example, for 2021, roofers, loggers, and certain people in mining and the steel and ironworks industry all made the list.

Families should understand their legal options

After a work-related death, Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system may be able to compensate the grieving families for lost wages and some of their out-of-pocket expenses.

The family may discover that, while helpful, workers’ compensation is simply not enough to cover all of their losses. Under Pennsylvania law, a family will not be able to sue their loved one’s employer if the employer provided workers’ compensation.

Still, depending on the circumstances, the family may also be able to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible for the loss of their loved one. The family should make sure they understand all of their legal options after a work-related tragedy.