High risk: Construction, Agriculture, Transportation, Manufacturing Workers
On-the-job accidents can lead to catastrophic physical harm and permanent disability from a workplace injury and undue stress and hardship for employees and employers. Several industries are consistently considered the most dangerous industries for catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
A catastrophic injury is one that prevents you from returning to both your pre-injury job or any other type of gainful employment that allows you to earn close to the amount you were earning before the injury. Claims are typically for more than $250,000 and are determined either by expert medical opinion testimony or a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). These claims are ones where the defendant has significant financial exposure that exhausts available insurance policy limits.
In 2019, there were 5,333 fatal occupational injuries in the United States, or one fatality every 99 minutes. Exposure to harmful substances or environments resulted in the deaths of 642 workers in all industries in 2019, the highest figure since 2011.
Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
Workers who suffer a catastrophic injury such as spinal cord injury, paraplegia, amputation, nerve damage or brain injury face life-altering medical conditions. Even with maximum workers’ compensation benefits if you become permanently disabled, you are not compensated for damages such as pain and suffering or loss of future earning potential.
In some cases such as when your injury was due to an accident caused by the negligence of another entity unrelated to your employer, you may have a civil case against them. This is called a third-party personal injury claim, and it is separate from your workers’ compensation claim.
Most Dangerous Industries for Catastrophic Injuries
Worker safety is important in every industry, however the likelihood of getting hurt on the job is higher in some sectors of the economy than others. Employers with 10 or more employees are required to comply with OSHA work-related employee injury and illness record-keeping. In 2018, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) began requiring employers to file reports about fatalities within 8 hours and serious work injuries requiring hospitalization, amputations or loss of an eye within 24 hours. Overall, the DOL received nearly 30 such reports every day.
The Bureau of Labor & Statistics’ data on the most dangerous industries finds that severe life-altering injuries requiring hospitalization or long-term medical care are more common in construction, agriculture, transportation and manufacturing.
- Construction Accidents
Construction zones are considered to be the most hazardous work environment. Often severe injuries occur on construction sites, and construction accidents cause the highest rate of on-the-job fatalities. Fatalities in the private construction industry increased 5% to 1,061 in 2019, the largest total since 2007. Catastrophic injuries on construction sites are most commonly due to falls from heights exceeding six feet; being struck by or caught between objects including moving machines or equipment and falling objects; and electrocutions caused by direct or indirect contact with live wires and energized equipment.
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing/Hunting Accidents
Agricultural workers, forestry employees, loggers and workers who perform hunting and fishing have the most deaths per 100,000 workers. Rapid growth in the use of robotics and other emerging farming technologies present new risks due to lack of experience in varied work settings in this sector, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Transportation events are the leading cause of death in this industry.
- Transportation & Distribution Worker Injuries
Transportation workers have the highest injury and illness rate per 100,000 workers. Nearly 1 out of every 5 fatally injured workers was employed as a driver/sales worker or truck driver in 2019, and tore than 200,000 severe non-fatal injuries occurred among transportation workers and material movers. In some instances, ruthless quotas are coming at the expense of worker safety.
- Manufacturing & Warehousing Injuries
Factory workers in charge of processing, sorting, and packing products, assembly line workers and plant workers using heavy machinery to produce goods are at extremely high risk for catastrophic injury. Manufacturing accounted for 15% of all private industry nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2019. The most reports of hospitalization, however, came from the manufacturing industry, accounting for 26% of the reports, or more than 1 in every 4. Injuries caused by plant equipment, including being struck by or caught in tools and machinery, include severed limbs, and traumatic brain injury or severe spinal cord injury were among the severe injuries recorded.
- Natural Resource Industry: Mining, Quarrying, Oil & Gas Extraction
Natural resources workers in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction are at high risk of severe injury. Severe occupational injuries in the mining and natural resources industry often involve a worker entangled in, struck by, or in contact with machinery or equipment in motion. On average 50 to 60 miners die in America while on the job.
Impacts of Catastrophic Occupational Injuries
Severe workplace injuries, can take a physical, emotional and financial toll on injured workers. Aside from the financial and legal implications, accidents can impact other employees and may cause them to feel unsafe in their workplace and result in loss of motivation and low morale, which can negatively impact productivity.
Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Fighting for Fair Compensation
Trammell Piazza Law Firm can provide guidance in seeking recoveries through third party personal injury cases. We provide guidance to pursue recovery for worker injuries, including wrongful death, Traumatic brain injury (TBI), catastrophic injury resulting in amputation involving construction accidents, industrial accidents, failed safety equipment transportation injuries and workplace negligence. These are complex cases involving laws related to both workers’ compensation and personal injury law.
Contact us today if you think you may have a claim against a negligent third party for your workplace injury. Trammell Piazza will review your case, discuss your legal rights and options, and answer any questions you may have.