More than 100 Americans die on the job each week, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency responsible for regulating workplace safety. It is perhaps unsurprising that industries such as transportation and construction report the highest number of workplace fatalities. There were 1,282 reported fatalities in the transport sector and 976 in construction in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available.
However, non-fatal work injuries are much more common, as they can threaten a person’s ability to earn income because they are unable to work. This can be especially difficult for non-exempt employees, who are paid based on the number of hours worked, not a predetermined salary, and who may not be eligible for benefits. For non-fatal injuries, an employee can turn to workers’ compensation to help cover the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation and lost wages.
This benefit for workers, however, is governed by individual states and can vary widely. For example, Texas is the only state where employers are not required to compensate their employees.
Simply Business looked at data published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health to find 10 of the most common workers’ compensation claims. About 16% of the injury claims analyzed in the study resulted in the most extreme outcomes of worker disability or death.
The data used in the study, published in 2020, is based on 151,959 workers’ compensation payments made between 2011 and 2018 by a large national third-party provider. Claims describing multiple injuries or the word “other” were not included.