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The state of workplace fatalities in Pennsylvania

Accidents in the workplace may not just result in injuries; they may result in worker fatalities, as well. Keeping the workplace safe is one of the primary duties of an employer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor often conducts studies in order to discover the extent of the problems relating to workplace injuries in each state.

Overall, workplace injuries and fatalities nationally have slightly decreased over the past year. The state of Pennsylvania recorded 178 deaths due to workplace injuries. One of the leading causes of workplace fatalities was found to be transportation accidents, which have consistently been a problem area in Pennsylvania workplaces for years. Accidents relating to the use of tools, equipment or other heavy work-related objects also caused numerous workplace injuries resulting in death, according to a preliminary study. Pennsylvania saw an increase in both these categories in the last year.

As previously mentioned, workers in the transportation industry seem to be most vulnerable to workplace injuries and fatalities. Homicide or workplace aggression also resulted in many workplace injuries and fatalities during the year. Animal attacks also were a significant cause of workplace injuries.

According to Pennsylvania law, a worker who suffers an injury or dies during the course of employment is entitled to worker's compensation. Workplace injuries may be severe; such injuries may even lead to cognitive or physical impairment and result in temporary or permanent unemployment. Such disabilities also may qualify the worker for Social Security disability benefits.

Knowing one's legal rights may be beneficial in cases of workplace injury or death and help assist the victim or his or her family. State agencies or a legal professional can provide information so that victims can understand the compensation that they may be due, as well as the best way to obtain these benefits in a timely manner.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Workplace fatalities in Pennsylvania - 2013," accessed Nov. 26, 2014

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