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Federal data: Workplace deaths, overdoses rose last year

New federal data show there were 5,190 workplace deaths in 2016, a 7 percent increase from the year before.

The fatality data, which come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show the fatal-injury rate increased from 3.4 for every 100,000 full-time workers in 2015 to 3.6 for every 100,000 workers in 2016.

The figures marked the third consecutive yearly increase for worker fatalities and the highest seen since 2008, Loren Sweatt, deputy assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said in a statement.

“OSHA will work to address these trends through enforcement, compliance assistance, education and training, and outreach,” Sweatt said.

Deaths from transportation incidents accounted for about one out of every four fatal injuries, making them the most common type of fatal workplace event for the year. Injuries related to workplace violence increased by 23 percent, making them the second-most common cause of workplace deaths.

Overdoses on the job site, meanwhile, increased by 32 percent in 2016,. The number of deaths related to overdoses has risen by at least 25 percent every year since 2012.

“As President (Donald) Trump recognized by declaring opioid abuse a Nationwide Public Health Emergency, the nation’s opioid crisis is impacting Americans every day at home and, as this data demonstrates, increasingly on the job,” Sweatt said. “The Department of Labor will work with public and private stakeholders to help eradicate the opioid crisis as a deadly and growing workplace issue.”

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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