Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Do you know the leading cause of on-the-job deaths?

Workers face many dangers in the workplace. Construction workers can fall from ladders or get injured by power tools. Factory workers can get injured by heavy machinery. Even office workers can slip and fall down the stairs. No matter what you do, the odds of a serious — and even deadly — accident probably sit higher than you're comfortable with.

But do you know about the leading cause of fatal workplace accidents? It's not anything exotic or unexpected. In fact, it's a huge issue for everyone, even those who are not at work.

The top reason for deadly workplace incidents is simple: car accidents.

How many workers?

The totals change every year, of course, but tracking the overall statistics paints a good picture of how much risk you face. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out that over 27,000 workers lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents between 2003 and 2017.

Who is most at risk?

Anyone who drives for work can technically face serious risks. As you may expect, those who put in the most hours — commercial delivery drivers, semitruck drivers, taxi drivers, and the like — see the most risk just because they spend the most time on the road.

But it can be anyone. Maybe you work as a chef, but the owners occasionally do catering. You could get into an accident on the way to a catered event. Maybe you work as a painter and you have to drive to homes all over California. If your boss sends you to the store for some additional gallons of paint, that drive puts you at risk.

One thing to keep in mind is that on-the-job deaths typically do not include fatalities during a morning or evening commute. By then, workers have clocked out for the day, so they're not driving for their employment. The fatalities and injuries that people count are those that happen on the clock. Naturally, many more workers do get involved in accidents on their commute, though that counts as their personal time in most cases.

What can you do?

The main thing you need to do is just focus on the risk and the steps you can stake to stay safe. Drive less often, if possible. Obey the speed limit. Practice defensive driving and wait for others to make mistakes. Understand what to do in an emergency situation.

As the statistics show, though, workers cannot always avoid accidents. To some degree, you're at the mercy of others. Make sure you know what legal steps to take in California after an accident.

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