Many workers die when things go wrong on the job, and people who work in particular fields are especially likely to sustain serious or fatal injuries.
Going over data on deaths in different sectors helps draw attention to the risks workers face. It can also highlight where employers need to improve safety for their workers.
Which industries have the most job-related deaths?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on the number of job-related fatalities in different fields. During 2019, more workers in the construction industry lost their lives than in other fields, such as transportation, retail, agriculture and hospitality. In 2019, 1,061 construction workers lost their lives, while over 900 workers died in the transportation industry.
The fatality rate is also important. For every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, 23.1 people who worked in forestry, agriculture, fishing or hunting lost their lives, compared to 13.9 in transportation and 9.7 in construction.
What should families do after a job-related death?
Family members who lose a loved one in a work accident likely qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits. This program helps families by covering medical expenses if the worker spent time in the hospital after the accident. It also provides cash payments to the surviving spouse and eligible dependents, as well as an amount for funeral arrangements.
Sometimes work accidents are the result of a third party’s negligence, such as a heavy equipment malfunction. Other times, it was an employer showing reckless disregard for employee safety that led to the fatality. In either of these cases, the family may have other avenues for compensation, as well.