Fatal construction accidents on the increase in Ohio

Workplace fatalities are increasing in Ohio, especially for those working in construction and other industries.

Ohio now has the second-highest number of workplace fatalities in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Midwest area, just slightly behind Illinois, according WKYC News. The standing follows a significant increase in fatal workplace accidents in 2014, particularly in the state's construction industry, as well as among trades, transportation, and utility workers. In many sectors, workplace fatalities are increasing at a rate that far outstrips national increases.

Workplace fatalities

In 2014 Ohio workplace fatalities reached 184, up from the 149 workplace fatalities that were recorded in 2013. Ohio was among 24 states that recorded rising workplace fatality rates during 2014. Nationwide, workplace fatalities grew two percent from 4,585 to 4,679. However, because of job growth the actual national death rate remained the same, at approximately three death per 100,000 workers.

In Ohio, the increases in fatalities in certain sectors were especially disturbing and far outstripped national trends. According to the Dayton Daily News, manufacturing deaths grew by 11 percent compared to nine percent nationally and construction deaths increased 21 percent in the state compared to six percent nationally. Fatalities among trades, transportation, and utility workers jumped 23 percent in Ohio in 2014.

Safety practices

The increase in workplace fatalities also means that Ohio is second in OSHA's Midwest region for overall fatal accidents. For the fiscal year running from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015 OSHA investigated 52 workplaces fatalities in Ohio, just slightly behind the 56 fatalities the agency investigated in Illinois. The other states in OSHA's Midwest region are Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

OSHA officials believe there are a number of reasons behind the increase in fatal workplace accidents in Ohio, primary among them being unsafe work practices and improper safety training. A lack of adequate safety equipment, for example, is making for some dangerous workplaces. Also, the fact that many new workers in the manufacturing and construction industries are young and inexperienced could help explain the disturbing increases in deaths in those industries.

Workers' compensation

While most jobs entail some risk, people working in certain industries, such as construction, are at especially high risk of being injured on the job. A workplace injury is not only physically painful, it can take people out of the workforce for weeks or even months at a time. Many injured workers rely on compensation to get by while they are recovering from their injuries. To maximize the chances of a workers' compensation claim being accepted, however, it is important to talk to an experienced and dedicated workers' compensation attorney as early in the claims process as possible.