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Authorities say fatal workplace injuries are preventable

Safety authorities expressed concern over the results of recently updated preventable death statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest numbers represent unintended deaths that occurred nationwide, including Arizona, in 2017, showing an increase of more than 5% on the previous year. The statistics are broken down in categories to indicate causes, and although it represents work-related and other preventable deaths, every one of the top 10 reasons could be deaths caused by workplace injuries.

The CDC says the opioid crisis is likely the most significant reason for the increased number of preventable deaths, which sits at the top of the list under the poisoning category that includes drug overdoses. This is one of the biggest challenges for employers across the country. The next causes of deaths on the list include vehicle accidents and falls, both also featuring in lists of common workplace accidents. Suffocation by inhalation and ingestion comes next, followed by drowning.

Fire, flames and smoke make up the fifth category, and each is a hazard that causes many work-related deaths. Mechanical suffocation comes next, which happens when crushing injuries prevent breathing, and struck-by accidents are on the list along with heat or cold-related deaths. Last on the list is machine-related deaths, which are prevalent in industrial facilities.

The National Safety Council maintains that these deaths are all preventable and should not be called accidents. However, despite the efforts of safety authorities to limit workplace injuries and fatalities, many employers in Arizona prioritize profits over employee safety. Fortunately, the state-regulated workers' compensation system offers surviving family members financial assistance after fatal workplace accidents, and legal counsel can assist with the claims process.

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