The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 172 Illinois employees died from workplace injuries in 2013, an increase of 26 fatalities over the previous year. The figure represented a significant improvement over the worker death rate of 262 in 1996, but remained far higher than 2012, when on-the-job deaths hit a record low of 146. Just over 4,400 worker deaths were recorded nationwide.
The causes and rates of death in Illinois were largely in line with national statistics. Transportation accidents were the primary causes of employee deaths, claiming 63 Illinois workers' lives or 37 percent of statewide work-related fatalities. Forty-percent of all workplace deaths in the country were linked to transportation.
Thirty-five Illinois employees died after coming in contact with objects or equipment, 20 percent of all state job deaths. Another 12 percent died after slip, trip and fall accidents. Workplace violence, either self-inflicted or caused by another person or animal, was connected to 32 deaths – 19 percent of statewide fatalities, higher than the 17 percent national average.
The victims of 90 percent of 2013 work fatalities in Illinois were men, with more than 60 percent in the 25-to-54 year old age group. Seventy percent of Illinois victims were Caucasians. A little more than one in four fatalities was among self-employed workers.
The most dangerous Illinois occupations in 2013 were in the transportation, construction and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries. A marked increase in statewide construction industry deaths was reported – 27 deaths in 2013, up from 16 fatalities in 2012. Nine construction worker deaths were due to transportation accidents.
More than 75 percent of all Illinois worker fatalities fell within three categories: transportation, object and equipment contact and job violence.
Families who suffer the loss of a loved one and injured workers may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Damages also may be available through injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits against negligent parties.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Fatal Work Injuries in Illinois — 2013" Dec. 21, 2014