Workers who Die on the Job are More than Just Statistics
171 Hoosiers died on the job in 2012. This is 41 more than the 2011 figures, and the highest number of deaths in the last fourteen years. These workers were commemorated during the annual Workers Memorial Day event on April 29, attended by the Commissioner of Indiana Department of Labor, representatives from the Worker’s Compensation Board, the Central Labor Council, the next-of-kin of victims, and others.
The spike in the number of workplace deaths may be attributable to many factors:
- During a recession, employers often attempt to cut costs, and may neglect safety and health precautions, such as investing in protective gear, or servicing safety equipment on time. One of the next-of-kin of an employee killed last year, attributed the death to the faulty seatbelt and airbag of the semi he was operating.
- Competitive pressures may force the employer to over-work the employees, beyond their normal productive capacity. Employees, lured by overtime money, the prospects of career advancement, or conversely the threat of falling out of favor with the employer, may comply. Overworking can make workers drowsy and distracted, thus making them more prone to accidents, and this increases their stress levels that may also result in heart attacks, strokes or other work-induced physical ailments.
- In the lure to get more for less, employers may not offer employees adequate training on safe work practices, or even how to perform their jobs efficiently, which often results in accidents.
However, the dead are not mere statistics, and deserve more than just a commemoration. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 protects workers from occupational hazards. Work comp law has provision for the next-of-kin to receive death benefits and compensation when workers die on the job. Even with such strong laws in place, receiving compensation very often requires a fight with the employers, who may be reluctant to admit to a workplace related death, as it increases their liability. It also requires complicated paperwork and legal knowledge.
Wagner Reese has a team of experienced wrongful death and Indiana work injury attorneys who understand the process of securing compensation, even when an employer is resisting. Contact us today at (888) 204-8440 for a free evaluation of your case and more information on how we can bring justice to your loved ones.