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Much-anticipated federal report outlines deadliest work hazards of 2015

Now that 2016 is officially in the rearview mirror, we will more than likely start to see a steady stream of retrospective reports from media outlets across the nation discussing everything from films and music to world events and politics.

It's important to note that this tendency toward retrospection at this time of the year is not confined to the popular media. Indeed, this is the time of the year that both state and federal agencies start to release reports summarizing their 12-month findings on a host of important topics. By way of example, consider the recent release of the 2015 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

The CFOI, which is issued annually for the preceding calendar year, is designed to not only present "comprehensive, accurate, and timely counts of fatal work injuries," but also help experts identify problem areas, promote safer work practices and improve workplace safety standards.

According to this year's report, there were 4,836 fatal work injuries here in the U.S. in 2015, a slight increase from the 4,821 fatal work injuries recorded in 2014, and the single highest total since the 5,214 fatal work injuries recorded back in 2008.

Some of the other notable findings of the 2015 CFOI include the following:

  • The occupation with the highest number of fatalities was heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers (745)
  • There were 903 fatal work injuries recorded among Latino workers, the most since 2007 (937)
  • There were 650 fatal work injuries recorded among workers 65 and older, 34 fewer than 2014 yet still the second highest total in the 20-plus year history of the CFOI

Closer to home, the CFOI had some eye-opening findings in agriculture, manufacturing and mining, three of Colorado's primary industries:

  • Agriculture: There were 180 fatal work injuries recorded among agricultural workers, a 22 percent increase from 2014, and 106 fatal work injuries recorded among farm workers/laborers in nursery, crop and greenhouse operations, a 33 percent increase from 2014 and the highest number ever recorded.
  • Manufacturing: There were 353 fatal work injuries recorded among workers in the private manufacturing setting, marking only a slight increase on a year-to-year basis, but also the single highest injury total since 2008.
  • Mining: There were 120 fatal work injuries recorded among workers in the private mining, oil/gas extraction, and quarrying industries, a 34 percent decline from 2014.

Here's hoping that these numbers do more than just serve as a grim reminder of the dangers facing many workers, prompting necessary, real and overdue workplace safety changes.  

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you've been seriously injured in any type of job-related accident and have questions about securing workers' compensation benefits.

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