More than 100 Americans die on the job every week, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency tasked with regulating workplace safety. It may not come as a surprise that industries such as transportation and construction report the largest number of workplace fatalities. There were 1,282 reported fatalities in the transportation sector and 976 in construction in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available.
Far more common, however, are nonfatal workplace injuries, which can threaten a person's ability to earn an income because they are unable to work. This can be especially difficult for nonexempt employees, who are paid according to the number of hours they work, not a predetermined salary, and who may not qualify for benefits. For nonfatal injuries, an employee can turn to workers' compensation to help cover the costs of medical treatment, rehab, and lost wages.
This benefit for workers, though, is governed by individual states and can vary greatly. For example, Texas is the only state where employers are not required to provide workers' compensation to employees.
Simply Business examined data published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health to find 10 of the most common workers' compensation injury claims. Around 16% of the injury claims analyzed in the study resulted in the most extreme of outcomes—either disability or the death of a worker.
The data used in the study, published in 2020, is based on 151,959 work-related injury payments made between 2011 and 2018 by a large, national, third-party provider. Claims describing multiple injuries or the word "other" were not included.