The U.S. Department of Labor has an agency under its wing called the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS is in charge of keeping statistics about workplace injuries and fatalities, which can impact workers’ compensation laws across the country. Unfortunately, because the reports by the BLS pit workers’ rights against the interests of businesses, those reports are inherently political. When business-friendly politicians have the power to do so, they make little changes to how the BLS works. Those changes can lower the number of hurt and killed workers in the reports, but not in real life.
The newest report by the BLS suggests that this is just what is going on.
New BLS Report Shows Workplace Fatalities Up, Again
On December 19, 2017, the BLS issued its annual press release on fatal workplace injuries. According to the BLS, 5,190 workers lost their lives while on the clock in 2016. This was a 7% increase from 2015, the third increase in a row, and the first time more than 5,000 people were killed on the job since 2008. For every 100,000 full-time workers in the country, 3.6 of them died on the job in 2016, the highest rate since 2010.
New Report Differs from Non-Fatal Workplace Injury Report
The BLS’ report on fatal workplace accidents is grim. Workers are dying on the job at rates we have not seen in years, which strongly suggests that worksites are not as safe as they were, before.
If that is true, why are nonfatal workplace injuries on a fast decline?
Last month, the BLS released a report detailing 2016’s nonfatal workplace injuries. This showed that workplace injuries, not workplace deaths, were way down, with the injured worker rate of 2.9 per 100 full-time workers well below previous levels.
Conflicting Reports Highlight Unreliability
It does not make sense for workplace deaths to rise, but workplace injuries to fall, especially when the trends are so sharp. If injuries go down because workplaces are getting safer, then fatalities should drop, as well.
What is more likely the case is that the fatality numbers, which suggest American workplaces are getting more dangerous, are more accurate than the declining numbers of nonfatal workplace accidents. After all, there are plenty of other signs that the BLS’ workplace injury numbers are underreported. Additionally, it is far easier for employers to let a worker’s injury go unreported than it is to let a worksite death to slip through the cracks.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
If you have been hurt while on the job, there is no reason why you should not be compensated by your employer. After all, if it were not for your boss, you would not have been put in a position where you could get hurt.
Unfortunately, making Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws work for you is often easier said than done. That is where the workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph can help. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373 if you have been hurt at work and want to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve.