Our Industry’s Accident/Fatality Numbers Are Cause for Concern
By Eric G Braun, Senior Writer, USRW
A serious topic, Road Warriors, is always our safety, not only on the road but around the workplace. Emergency Medical Technicians are taught scene safety and that is their battle cry. Always be aware of your surroundings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Accident Report from 2015 on our industry is grim.
A total of 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2015, a slight increase from the 4,821 fatal injuries reported in 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This release marks the first time that the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) has published a single annual release with no revisions, and will be the only release for 2015 CFOI data. A similar schedule will be followed in future years. Preliminary releases, which appeared in August or September in past years, will no longer be produced.
Transportation and material moving occupations recorded fewer fatal injuries in 2015 than in 2014, but still accounted for over one-fourth of all fatal work injuries in 2015. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers incurred 745 fatal work injuries in 2015, the most of any occupation.
While workers age 45 years and older accounted for 58 percent of workplace fatalities in 2015, they accounted for only 45 percent of the total hours worked. Fatal injury rates were generally lower among younger workers (2.3 per 100,000 FTE workers for those age 25 to 34 years) and higher among older workers (9.4 per 100,000 FTE workers for those age 65 years and older).
The number of fatal work injuries involving transportation incidents, the incident leading to the most fatal work injuries, increased in 2015. Roadway incidents were up 9 percent in 2015 to 1,264 and accounted for 26 percent of all fatal work injuries. Almost half of these fatalities (629) involved a semi, tractor-trailer, or tanker truck.
Twenty-one states reported higher numbers of fatal injuries in 2015 than in 2014, while 29 states and the District of Columbia reported fewer fatalities. Six states recorded fatal injury totals in 2015 that were at or below the lowest total ever reported for those states – Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Maine, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Occupations that had among the highest number of cases in 2015 resulting in days away from work included heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; and nursing assistants. The incidence rates decreased for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (298.7 cases per 10,000 fulltime workers in 2015, down from 355.4) and nursing assistants (327.8 in 2015, down from 353.6).
Private sector laborers and freight, stock, and material movers had 56,550 days-away-from-work cases in 2015, an increase from 2014 levels. However, the incidence rate of 289.4 cases was not significantly different from the rate reported in 2014 (284.5 cases).
We say it all the time to each other, Road Warriors, and it’s a loving gesture--let’s be safe and careful!
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