Each year, there are an alarming number of preventable workplace fatalities both state and nationwide. While the number of workplace fatalities in Massachusetts declined a small amount from 2017 to 2018, going from 74 to 69 deaths, it is still on the rise across the nation.
On April 25, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO published their annual report detailing on-the-job deaths. This comes just before the 31st observance of Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, which is a day dedicated to remembering individuals who were killed or injured while working.
Contributing to nearly one in four workplace deaths in 2018, the most prominent cause of death in Massachusetts was transportation accidents. Following the trend of previous years, worker deaths were most prominent in the construction injury. Construction deaths accounted for 36 percent of the 69 fatalities that occurred in the state in 2018. 27 percent of these fatalities were a result of falls, slips, and trips, and 10 individuals died from contact with objects or equipment.
Workers in the construction industry have an injury rate that is 77 percent higher than the national average. Consequently, opioids are frequently prescribed to individuals suffering from acute or chronic pain due to a construction-related injury. This has led construction workers in Massachusetts to die from opioid overdoses at a six times higher rate than other industries. It goes without saying that with safer working conditions and fewer injuries, this rate would be reduced.
In response to the report, State Representative Paul Brodeur called for state legislators to take further action to protect workers: “it is important to build that culture of safety and extend that out and create the opportunity for training and enforcement because ultimately what we want is for people who go to work to come back home.”
If you have been injured on a construction site, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following the incident. Contact our team of Boston construction accident lawyers today for a free consultation to see how we can help restore your health and peace of mind.
A partner at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP in Boston, J. Tucker Merrigan represents individual clients throughout all of Massachusetts and the United States—concentrating his practice on cases that involve personal injury, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, wrongful death, premises liability, products liability, medical malpractice, and insurance law. Known for strong client relationships and positive results, Merrigan has been named a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney by National Trial Lawyers from 2015-2018 and named Super Lawyer Rising Star for 2018.