Stats Show Rise In Workplace Injuries & Fatalities In 2020
A recently released white paper from ISN Software Corporation revealed that while the overall number of serious injuries and fatalities declined from 2019 to 2020, the rate at which they occurred (the “SIF rate”) spiked definitively. Statistics showed that the SIF rate was 429 per 100,000 workers, while in the previous year it had been 366 per 100,000 – an increase of approximately 17 percent, in one year. However, if one further examines the data, one can see that old and familiar patterns have persisted, despite the extremely unusual state of affairs in 2020.
These findings may appear counterintuitive – if the SIF rate increased, shouldn’t the overall number of serious injuries & fatalities have increased as well? The answer is no – due to COVID-19 precautions, a significant number of industries in Connecticut and elsewhere either slowed production or even temporarily shut down altogether, meaning that there were fewer days at work in which to have SIF events. However, when they did occur, they tended to follow the same patterns that many workplace injuries and fatalities follow when all is normal.
If one examines the data further, one can see that an enormous 42 percent of all SIFs in 2020 occurred in the construction industry, as well as nearly half of all the registered fatalities. This is sadly common simply because of the high risk involved in most construction jobs; the sheer risks involved annually lead to a high number of workers being injured or killed, even when all due safety precautions are taken. The most common specific cause of death listed was contact with an object or equipment – for example, falls, being struck by something like a vehicle, or having something dropped on a worker.
Other industries that saw elevated rates of SIF during 2020 (and often do in other years) were waste management, remediation, and administrative support, with transportation also noting a high number of workplace fatalities. ISN also noted several statistically significant factors for an increased rate of SIF, many of which naturally appear in these high-risk industries – for example, working at elevated heights, rigging material handling, or bringing chemicals on-site are all associated with a higher risk of serious injury or death.
What all of this may convey to the average Connecticut worker is to trust their gut – if you work in a highly dangerous industry, it can be easy to feel paranoid if noticeable safety measures are taken, but it is generally better to feel paranoid than to put yourself at risk. While Connecticut’s workers’ compensation system is no-fault (meaning that the state will not evaluate who was at fault for a workplace incident; they will simply award benefits if one’s application is approved), your claim may not be approved if it can be shown that you contributed to your own risk. While each case is different, erring on the side of caution is never a bad idea.
Contact A Stratford, CT Workers’ Compensation Attorney
While a person who works in a dangerous industry has the obligation to take reasonable precautions on the job, sometimes serious injuries or fatalities just happen – and sometimes, they happen due to the negligence of an employer. If you have been hurt at work and have questions about a workers’ compensation claim, contacting a Stratford workers’ compensation attorney from the Morizio Law Firm may be just what is necessary to get them answered. Contact our offices at 475-338-3505 for a free consultation.