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Worker injuries and fatalities still a major hurdle for employers

Although there have been many major improvements when it comes to worker safety since the labor movement, New Jersey employees are still at risk for workplace injuries and fatalities. While injuries and fatalities should continue to decline, the U.S. Department of Labor found that the number of fatal injuries actually increased in 2014.

In total, 4,679 workers across the nation suffered a fatal injury while they were on the clock in 2014. This number increased about 2 percent over the number of fatal workplace injuries in 2013. The number of victims 55 and older was 1,621, the highest number of fatalities since the DOL began recording and tracking numbers in 1992. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also noted that there were more than 10,000 severe injuries that occurred at work. These injuries resulted in more than 7,500 hospitalizations and more than 2,500 amputations.

It should also be noted that not all injuries or safety concerns are reported. Some Latino and immigrant workers are at risk of being exploited by their employers. Some are harassed or fired when they make complaints about their potentially unsafe work conditions. Whistleblower protection laws are often not enforced strongly enough to protect many workers.

When a worker suffers an injury while on the clock, they could potentially face expensive medical costs and may be prevented from earning an income. If the injury was caused by unsafe working conditions, inadequate training or employer negligence, a workers' compensation attorney may help the worker seek compensation that could cover their medical costs and income they could earn due to the injury. If the employer did not have proper insurance or refused the claim, the attorney may help the injured worker take the case to court.

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