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Workplace Fatalities: Common Injuries by Industry

Most Common Workplace Deaths - Sand Law LLC - Minnesota Workplace Personal Injury Attorney

Workplace injuries can range from minor to fatal. Some industries are more prone to fatal injuries than others.

Day after day, employees work their shifts and expect to return home safely to their families. While most work spaces are very safe environments, there are some locations and careers that are naturally more dangerous than others. Employers and workers alike should be taking extra measures to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, they can fall short, and the worst can happen. Over 5,000 people a year die from workplace related accidents.

Workplace Deaths By Injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines for virtually every industry. When they’re not followed, a variety of accidents can happen as a result. These may include:

Slips and Falls

A clean work space is not just a superficial facet. It can also prevent injuries. When work spaces are cluttered with tools or materials, workers are most prone to tripping. Slippery surfaces and unsecured ladders are also common catalysts for slip-and-fall accidents.

Many people associate these types of falls with relatively minor injuries like broken bones or sprains. However, at various work sites, a fall can throw an employee from a dangerous height. Workers can sustain traumatic brain injuries and neck and back injuries that can be fatal.

Struck By Object

Heavy materials are frequently transported across worksites. This can go wrong when workers occupy an area where they shouldn’t be or when a transporter misjudges the area of clearance. Loose tools can also fall and strike employees who are working below. Falling objects were the second leading cause of accidents accounting for 11.1% of all construction accidents in 2018.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) classifies electrocutions into four different categories: fatal electrocution, electric shock, burns, and falls due to contact with electrical energy. To cause serious or fatal damage, an employee must be exposed to an active electrical circuit. Currents can overstimulate the nervous system and lead to organ failure.


Modern machinery has made many laborious jobs infinitely quicker and easier. It also quickly becomes perilous when it malfunctions and when safety protocols aren’t being followed. Cranes, garbage trucks, and most all other industrial vehicles weigh tons, and they can trap and crush workers in an instant.

By Occupation

Logging Workers

Logging is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. With over 109 deaths for every 100,000 workers, it’s 31 times more dangerous than other careers with equivalent working hours. If not used correctly, heavy machinery used to cut trees and process wood can instantly kill loggers. Even injuries that workers in other industries would survive can be deadly to logging workers. Since they often work in remote areas, accessing medical care during an emergency does not always happen quickly enough.


In their industry, fishers face a fatality rate of 117 for every 100,000 workers. Though weather prediction methods are more advanced than ever, there are still circumstances where they’re stuck at sea in the middle of unforgiving storms. Fishers can also fall overboard or get trapped in equipment like netting.

Aircraft Pilots and Engineers

The fatality rate for aircraft pilots and engineers is more than 40 per 100,000. While there is only one fatal accident for every 3 million large commercial flights, aircraft pilots and engineers of smaller operations do not share that small level of risk.


Whether roofers are repairing a roof or building one from the beginning, there are many factors that may put these workers in danger. Roofers can step onto unstable surfaces like rotting materials or unfinished bases. Unsecured harnesses, or failure to use them at all, can lead to a fatal fall.

Oilfield Workers

According to the CDC, an average of 108 oilfield workers died every year over the course of a recent 10 year period. Considering they are surrounded by oil every day at work, oilfield workers run the risk of being caught in a fire. They also come into contact with heavy machinery and massive rig platforms.

Garbage Collectors

For every 100,000 garbage collectors, 33 are afflicted by a fatal injury. To the average person who only sees them pick up bins from the neighborhood, a garbage collector’s job may not seem very dangerous. But when they’re not going from house to house, they travel to landfills where they come into contact with machinery that can crush just about anything, including them.

Receiving Workers’ Compensation for Your Accident

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law requires all businesses to either carry workers’ compensation insurance or to become self-insured. As a surviving child or spouse, it is possible for you to collect lost wages your deceased loved one would have otherwise earned. Workers’ compensation also covers accident-related medical expenses as well as funds for a burial or cremation.

Contact an Attorney

Pursuing a case against a well-established business or insurance company can be intimidating. If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident or you are the survivor of an accident victim, hiring a personal injury attorney can make the process less overwhelming. The attorneys of Sand Law have successfully recovered damages for clients who have been offered unsubstantial settlements as well as clients who have been denied workers’ compensation altogether. If you’re in need of representation, contact us online or call us at 651-291-7263 for a free initial consultation.