Like many in California, you may be grateful for your job. Yes, it is hard work, and many days you go home bone tired. But your paycheck helps to feed and provide for your family, and you certainly know many people who don't have that blessing in their lives.
You may also know people who have suffered from accidents, injuries and illnesses because of their jobs. In reality, you may also be aware of families that are grieving the loss of a loved one who died in a work-related accident. Accidents happen daily in the workplace, and your industry or working conditions may leave you particularly vulnerable to serious or deadly injuries.
A recent report from Worksafe, a California organization that advocates for the health and safety of workers, demonstrates how frequently workplace injuries occur across the state. However, just because injuries are common doesn't mean that they are acceptable. In fact, the loss of even one life in a preventable workplace accident is intolerable. This is why you may find the following results of the study so upsetting:
- In one year, 388 California workers died from injuries suffered in workplace accidents.
- More than one person died on the job each day that year.
- The rate of fatal workplace accidents rose 10 percent from the previous year.
- Thirteen people die every day in job-related accidents across the country.
- The rate of deaths in agricultural jobs skyrocketed from 8.2 to 17.1 fatalities in one year.
- In the same year, fatal construction accidents rose 34 percent, which is the industry's highest rate in the past decade.
- Forty-six percent of all fatalities are Latino workers even though only one third of workers in the state are Latino.
The data used in the report is from information collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in cooperation with the California Department of Industrial Relations during 2015.
Nothing should stop you from seeking help
You have likely been on the job when a co-worker becomes injured in some way but, for whatever reason, fails to report the injury. Maybe you have done the same thing, shaking off a potentially serious injury and trying to work through the pain. Perhaps you know of an injured worker who didn't want the hassle of going through workers' compensation, or maybe the worker was afraid of how reporting the injury would affect his or her status as an immigrant to the country.
Researchers believe that about two thirds of all injured workers never report their injuries, so the statistics related to employment health and safety may be greatly underestimated. Still, if you are injured on the job, you have the right to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. No matter your situation or status in this country, you can find assistance and advice from a compassionate attorney.