Work-related deaths in La. in 2016 down from previous year, injuries remain below national average

Published: Feb. 5, 2018 at 7:47 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 at 1:56 PM CST
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(WAFB) - While the number of work-related deaths in the U.S. increased from 2015 to 2016 (4,836 to 5,190), that number decreased in Louisiana, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Louisiana also maintained a low rate of work-related injuries and illnesses in 2016.

In 2016, 95 people in Louisiana died in work-related incidents. In 2015, that number was 112. The state's fatal injury rate in 2016 also went down to 5.0 from 5.8 in 2015, per 100,000 full time equivalent workers. Both the number of deaths and the rate have decreased in Louisiana for two consecutive years. Nationwide, the fatal injury rate was 3.6 per 100,000 full time workers, up from 3.4 in 2015.

Industries reporting the most deaths in 2016 were trade, transportation, and utilities with 24, then 16 with construction, 16 with government, 14 with natural resources and mining, and seven with leisure and hospitality.

Deaths decreased in the following industries:

  • Construction: Down 12 deaths
  • Transportation and warehousing: Down 8 deaths
  • Mining: Down 6 deaths
  • Administrative and waste services: Down 3 deaths

"Any loss of life resulting from a workplace incident is one too many; however, we are encouraged to see fewer such incidences taking place in Louisiana. Our agency is fully committed to assisting businesses in upholding safety standards to ensure the well being to all employees remains paramount," said Ava Dejoie, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana's rate of non-fatal accidents and injuries has continually decreased over the past 15 years and remains among the lowest rates in the nation when compared to the national averages compiled since 2007.

The rate reported for Louisiana in 2016 leveled to 1.9 incidents per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, identical to 1.9 in 2015. The national average was 2.9. The state had the lowest incidence rate among 41 participating states, trailing only the District of Columbia for the rate of nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses. Louisiana has continuously been below the national average since the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration revised its recordkeeping rules in 2002, accoridng to the LWC.

The state's injury and illness rate showed improvement in multiple industry sectors. Among the leaders:

  • Construction - Down 0.4 incidents per 100 FTE workers from 2015.
  • Information - Down 0.3 incidents per 100 workers.
  • Health care and social assistance - Down 0.3 incidents per 100 workers.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation - Down 0.4 incidents per 100 workers.
  • Manufacturing - Down 0.2 incidents per 100 workers.
  • Transportation and warehousing - Down 0.2 incidents per 100 workers.
  • Management of companies and enterprises - Down 0.2 incidents per 100 workers.

Louisiana's 2016 incidence rate was 70.5 per 10,000 FTE workers for cases of nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses resulting in missed work. Although the state's 2016 missed work case incidence rate increased compared to 62.3 in 2015, it is still below the national missed work case incidence rate of 91.7 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2016. The most common injuries and illnesses were sprains, strains, and tears to the upper extremities caused by falls, slips, and trips. Vehicles were the most common source of cases resulting in time away from work in Louisiana.

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