Kentucky workers who are in certain industries may be aware that their jobs are particularly dangerous. Industries including agriculture, forestry and construction have high rates of injury and death. But some workers may be more at risk of on-the-job death than others. Statistics show that older workers and Latino workers have higher rates of fatal work injuries than other workers.
In 2016 about 5,190 American workers were killed on the job. That was an increase from 2015, and even more workers died from illnesses caused by work. Up to 60,000 workers died from exposure to toxic chemicals and other occupational diseases.
More than one-third of work fatalities were workers aged 55 or older. Workers over 65 have more than 2.5 times the risk of death on the job than other workers. Experts believe that the high numbers of older worker job fatalities could due to the country’s aging workforce.
The rate of death for Latino workers was 3.7 per 100,000 workers, which is higher than the national average of 3.6 per 100,000. Latino workers are over-represented in the fields of agriculture and construction, two of the most dangerous industries. It is also believed that language barriers and immigration status might cause Latino workers to take jobs with employers who do not provide safe working conditions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act was established in 1970 to provide safe work environments for American workers. It is estimated that more than half a million lives have been saved since the passage of the act.
Workers who are injured on the job are usually covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. Workers’ Compensation also provides benefits to the families of workers who are killed on the job. Workers’ compensation was designed to provide compensation for lost wages. It does not cover pain and suffering.