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Workplace fatalities rise in 2014

Based on final numbers updating the Census of Occupational Injuries, Louisiana workers may have been more likely to suffer a fatal injury in 2014 than in previous years. For the first time since 2010, the number of fatalities in American workplaces rose, and it is the highest number since 2008. The final number was 4,821, which translated into 3.4 fatalities for every 100,000 full-time equivalent employees.

Fatalities in oil and gas extraction were at their highest ever at 144 while private construction saw the most since 2008 with a total of 899. For workers at or over the age of 55, there were 1,691 fatalities. This, too, was the largest number recorded.

Numbers for Latino workers were slightly lower compared to the previous year with 13 fewer at 804. The number rose 5 percent for non-Hispanic white workers to 3,332 and 4 percent for non-Hispanic black and African-American workers to 475.

These numbers may cause concern for some workers. Safety in the workplace should be paramount, yet some employers cut corners in order to increase production or because they are unaware of the latest safety standards. Workers may want to familiarize themselves with the procedures for filing for workers' compensation benefits before an accident happens. In most cases, workers are eligible for benefits regardless of who is at fault in the accident. However, employers may pressure workers to not file a claim or may attempt to retaliate if they do. Workers who find themselves in this position may want to speak to an attorney to see what recourse may be available.

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