New federal figures show the number of people killed on the job in Wisconsin was up in 2015, continuing several years of increases.
Numbers released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show 104 Wisconsin workers died due to on-the-job injuries last year – up from 99 in 2014. “We typically have about 100 fatalities that are related to work injuries in the state, and the last few years we’ve actually seen an uptick,” says Rebecca Adams, a program manager with BLS Occupational Health and Safety Statistics.
Adams says it’s hard to identify specific reasons for the increase – although issues such as lack of training or safety enforcement are often cited as factors.
Many of the deaths are related to transportation jobs, or accidents in workplaces that involve someone falling or something falling on a worker. Transportation-related injuries saw a 21 percent increase this year, accounting for 46 deaths. There were 17 deaths attributed to falls, slips, and trips, 18 injuries due to fatal contact with something like machinery, 11 “violent events”, and 11 deaths due to exposure to harmful substance or environments.
Adams says the statistics can help highlight the need for better training or new safety standards in workplaces, although she acknowledges some may be due to someone who has been doing a job for decades suddenly becoming complacent or having a moment of distraction. Still, she argues that one worker in the state dying every three days is unacceptable, and that steps can be taken to prevent that from happening.