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Death In The Workplace: Dangers Take Many Forms

Most people don't think about dying when they go to work. To be sure, there are some jobs, such as law enforcement, where the possibility of violence is constantly present for many workers. And the fatal shooting of an airport security worker two weeks ago was a reminder that workplace fatalities can occur in many different ways.

For most jobs, however, the thought of dying in the workplace is usually far from people's minds. When one looks at the overall number of workplace fatalities, however, the cumulative national total is large. In 2011, it was 4,609 workers, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

We discussed some of the reasons for this in our recent article on workplace dangers.

OSHA has lots of data on which of these dangers are most linked to workplace injuries and deaths. Not surprisingly, violent incidents often receive the most media attention. This is understandable, especially in a culture like ours where so many mass shootings continue to occur.

It is also important, however, to continue to pay attention to more prosaic concerns.

For example, lack of proper fall protection and violations of scaffolding safety standards are responsible for many fatal accidents and serious injuries in construction and other industrial settings.

We encourage you to read our article on common workplace hazards. It contains useful information about the most frequent types of workplace safety violations, as well as the role of workers' compensation and third-party lawsuits when those hazards cause injury or death.

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