A piece of good news for workers in Colorado – work-related deaths remained relatively flat in 2010 according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
The report released last week – entitled the “Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries” – is a cooperative effort between the CDPHE and the U.S. Department of Labor. Data on fatalities was gathered from several sources, including workers’ comp claims, death certificates and reports filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Broken down, there were 3 deaths for every 100,000 workers in Colorado last year. In total, 80 workers lost their lives in the course of performing their job duties last year.
Transportation related deaths were the most common with 27 fatalities reported last year (…compared to 24 in 2009) – 17 of those came about because of a highway crash with the remaining 10 stemming from non-highway or another type of transportation related fatality. As a percentage of work-related deaths though, highway fatalities were slightly lower but still was the leading cause of death among workers.
Other fatalities among Colorado workers include – 21 deaths from assault and violent acts and 15 from contact with objects and equipment.
Of the 80 worker fatalities in Colorado last year, 72 of them were men. By race, 59 were white, 17 Hispanic and the remaining were African-American, American Indian, Asian and other ethnicities. The 55-64 age group suffered the most fatalities with 18 deaths.
Broken down another way, the following industries in Colorado saw the lion’s share of fatalities in 2010:
- Trade, Transportation and Utilities – 19 deaths
- Natural Resources and Mining – 15 deaths
- Construction – 10 deaths
- Professional and Business Services – 8 deaths
- Leisure and Hospitality – 8 deaths
By specific occupation, sales and related occupations experienced 12 fatalities, management 10 fatalities, construction and mining 9 fatalities and installation, maintenance and repair 8 fatalities.
Data from this report and other sources help policymakers identify gaps in safety. For example, since transportation related deaths are the most common, employers, industry groups and policymakers at the CDPHE can use data like this to develop better training and prevention mechanisms for workers.
Additionally, the Occupational Health & Safety Surveillance program is working to create a statewide network of occupational health and safety professionals. Known as Worksafe Colorado, these partners can help identify gaps that when addressed, can help ensure the safety of Colorado’s workforce.
Regardless of the cause, family members of workers who died while on-the-job are entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits in Colorado. If you’ve lost a spouse or parent to a workplace accident but are experiencing difficulty in obtaining benefits, contact Denver workers’ compensation attorneys at the Babcock Law Firm today for a free consultation.