On-the-job Fatalities Slowly Declining in Michigan

According to a report by the Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program at Michigan State University, 141 people were killed in an on-the-job accident in 2011, four fewer people than were killed the previous year.

The most common occupations to have workers killed in on-the-job accidents were construction, agriculture and manufacturing, with 24, 22 and 17 deaths in 2011, respectively. The most common causes of death according to the report were motor vehicle accidents and falls, with twenty-three workers killed by each in 2011.

Homicides were also accounted for, with sixteen deaths reported in 2011, down from twenty-six reported in 2010. The total number of work-place deaths has been declining since 1999, when 182 were reported, with 174 being reported in 2001 and 157 being reported in 2006. The low point of work-place deaths was reached in 2009, when only 96 were reported.

However, according to an article by the Detroit Free Press, there is some concern that burns are being underreported in work-place accidents. According to a variety of sources, including Michigan hospitals, worker’s compensation agencies, the state’s poison control center, and death certificates, 1,461 work-related burns were reported, but only 450 were reported by employers to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The director of the University’s DOEM stated in a news release that “surveillance is a basic premise of public health.”

Overall, 5,000 Americans nationwide are killed in work-place accidents, with 60,000 deaths caused by cancer, lung disease, and other work-related illnesses. Injured workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to report any workplace injury as soon as it occurs.