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13 workers die every day

Thinking that the workplace is safe now with modern regulations and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

It's all a matter of perspective. Is it safer than it used to be? Certainly. Does that mean there's no risk? Absolutely not. In fact, according to OSHA itself, there are an average of 13 fatal accidents in the workplace every single day.

Each day, more than a dozen workers wake up, drive to work, clock in, and never come home. That's the average, so there are certainly down days with fewer accidents, but there are also high days, as well. No one thinks it will happen to them when they're drinking their morning cup of coffee, but it happens over and over again, day after day and year after year.

For what it's worth, the fatality rate comes from the 2015 statistics, which OSHA compiled and analyzed. That process takes time and tends to run a bit behind, but it's likely that things have not changed much in 2017. It still gives you a good idea of the dangers with modern rules and regulations in place.

On the flip side, it's not all bad news. You don't have to go back to the Industrial Revolution or the turn of the century to see that fatality rates are dropping drastically. OSHA is making an effort. The rules work. Employees are safer than they once were.

For instance, in 1970, the rate was more than double, with an average of 38 daily fatalities. The 1970s are almost 50 years ago now, but that's still a fairly modern workplace compared to the well-documented safety issues in the 1800s and early 1900s. The decline shows that employers are still working to take safety more and more seriously.

Injuries and illnesses have likewise declined, as you'd expect. They're also still very common and a threat during your daily shift.

In 2015, the average showed that three out of every 100 workers got injured that year. OSHA says there are around 130 million workers. While a three percent injury rate sounds small, the total is enormous. At that rate, 3,900,000 workers would get injured annually.

Again, that's far better than older rates. 1972 saw 10.9 injuries and illnesses for every 100 workers. That rate would lead to 14,170,000 injuries today. The drop has been dramatic, even though the odds of an injury are still higher than most people realize.

Even though things are getting safer, the workplace is never going to become 100 percent free of hazards and dangers. It's crucial for employees to know their legal rights. They are safer than they were before, and modern laws also increase their rights and options when injuries still strike.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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Cary, NC 27511

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