Employees in Kentucky may be pleased to learn that even as the overall workforce grew in 2017, workplace deaths actually went down. Overall, the fatal workplace injury rate fell to 3.5 percent in 2017 from 3.6 percent in 2016, according to a report released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Responding to the report, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration official praised the progress but emphasized that workplace fatalities are still a serious concern. He also said that OSHA is committed to protecting workplace safety through educational efforts for employers and workers as well as enforcement and compliance efforts.

In addition to the decline in workplace fatalities, several particular types of serious accidents also declined in 2017. The year saw the fewest number of deaths associated with crane-related workplace accidents since these statistics were first issued in 1992. However, there were serious concerns in other industries. More workers lost their lives on the job in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas industries. In addition, more workers aged 65 and older died on the job in 2017, and additional employees lost their lives due to slip-and-fall accidents.

Another serious concern faced by workers is the effect of the nationwide opioid crisis. Unintentional overdoses on the job rose by 25 percent. This marked the fifth year in a row that overdose fatalities climbed by at least that amount. OSHA officials also said that these numbers would be taken into account in government efforts to address the opiate crisis.

While some statistics showed promising results, many workers continue to face major hazards on the job. A workers’ comp lawyer can help injured employees protect their rights and pursue compensation for their damages.