The Critical Problem of Vehicle Fatalities in Indiana’s Workplaces
We often think of our workplace in simple narratives: we sit behind a desk; we teach in a school; wear a hard hat and get dirty; or, maybe, cook with food. However, the reality is that our jobs usually include a variety of responsibilities. Consider the hospital-sponsored home health care service where the nurse is exposed to common hospital workplace risks, but also the risks associated with driving to and then helping care for someone in their home. Just like life, our jobs can be complicated.
The most recent (2016 data) Indiana Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) report reflects this variety and the myriad causes of workplace fatalities. Perhaps you think that the construction worker’s life is most at risk. Or perhaps you believe the factory worker or the utility worker encounters the most hazards.
You might be surprised to read the report’s findings.
Transportation: The Most Deadly Work Activity
The number of Hoosiers who lost their lives while on the job in 2016 was 137, which represents a 19.13 percent increase from 2015’s total of 115 fatalities. Of all work activities, transportation-related deaths have consistently produced the biggest number of workplace fatalities, from the first CFOI report in 1992 up to the most recent one. Such deaths have consistently shown up at the top of the list in many industries, not just trucking. The latest CFOI report confirmed this fact as well.
In 2016, 61 transportation incidents were responsible for 44.53 percent of all Indiana workplace deaths. Fatal transportation-related accidents included:
- Deadly road accidents involving motorized land vehicles: 34
- Deadly non-road accidents involving motorized land vehicles: 14
- Pedestrians struck and killed by such vehicles while they were working: 11
- Fatalities for workers specifically in the truck transportation industry subsector: 13.
Here’s another way to look at the numbers: only 13 out of 61 deaths occurred directly in the truck transportation industry, where driving most or all of the time is the worker’s job. Of the remaining 48 deaths that were transportation-related, they were distributed as follows:
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting: 15
- Construction: 7
- Administrative and waste services: 4
- Retail trade: 3
- Wholesale trade: 3
- Warehousing: 3
- Other industries: 13.
Transportation-related deaths at work can be caused by a number of reasons, including inattention, fatigue, lack of proper training, and inadequate or improper vehicle maintenance.
The National Figures Match Indiana
The U.S. figures show the same trend. Transportation-related accidents were the most common reason that workplace deaths occurred in 2016, with 2,083 lives lost. That’s 40 percent of all workplace fatalities. In 2015, such workplace deaths in the U.S. totaled 2,054. Transportation-related deaths have, in general, trended higher in both Indiana and in the U.S. since 2012.
You do not have to be a truck driver to experience the hazards of a transportation-related incident. You could work in another industry but be at risk because part of your job regularly involves driving or working around motor vehicles of all types. Keep this fact in mind should you become injured by or while driving a motor vehicle on the job.
When others breach their duty, we keep ours.
State and federal agencies, including the Indiana Department of Labor and OSHA, have strict guidelines and regulations to keep workers safe while they are doing their jobs. In some cases, employers might ignore these regulations or fail to ensure they are properly followed. Where large commercial vehicles, machines, or equipment are involved, there can be questions of manufacturer’s defects, or there can be another third-party situation that requires legal remedy.
With over 30 years’ experience handling on-the-job injury claims in Indiana, Mike Stephenson and Brady Rife of McNeely Stephenson are ready to put their resources to work for you. You might be eligible for certain types of compensation beyond workers’ comp to assist you with your financial hardship. To explore your options, call us today, or use our online contact form.