February 7, 2019

DOL: Workplace fatalities rise in '17; third lowest rate nationally

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED
PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED
A warehouse in Windsor Locks.

More Connecticut workers died on the job in 2017 compared to 2016, a new report says.

Despite that, the state recorded the third lowest rate of workplace fatalities in the U.S.

The latest monthly issue of the Connecticut Economic Digest, a joint publication by the state Department of Labor (DOL) and the state Department of Economic and Community Development, says the state had 35 deaths due to work injuries in 2017, up from 28 in 2016.

Connecticut has averaged 39 work-related deaths a year since 1992, according to the report.

The state's 2017 fatality results translate to 1.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, the third lowest rate nationally. Leading the country was Rhode Island, New Hampshire and New Jersey with 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Erin C. Wilkins, the DOL associate research analyst who wrote the report, says Connecticut's low number of workplace fatalities was primarily driven by the fact that the state does not have a great number of jobs in high-risk industries.

Connecticut's transportation and warehousing industries had the most deaths, with 10 each, or 28.6 percent of deaths in 2017. Administration/support and waste management/remediation services tied for second at 6 deaths each, or 17.1 percent of total deaths during the year.

The report says 32 of the state's workplace deaths in 2017 were men, which mirrors national trends with 93 percent of the nation's work-related fatalities being men.

Connecticut currently has over 1.7 million seasonally adjusted jobs, according to DOL's December unemployment report.

Nationally, 5,147 workers died due to workplace injuries in 2017, decreasing the fatal injury rate to 3.5 per 100,000 workers vs. 3.6 in 2016.

The most work-related deaths in 2017 were recorded in Texas (534), California (376), New York (313) and Florida (299).

While Connecticut ranks low in workplace deaths, it has an above average rate of workplace injuries, the federal government reported in December.

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