People in most professions don’t often think about being seriously injured or killed on the job. Fortunately, both the number and rate of fatal accidents or exposures on the job are low in Massachusetts: in 2021, 97 people in the Commonwealth died due to accidents or other injuries and exposures at work. With nearly 3.5 million people in the Massachusetts workforce at the time, that means the workplace fatality rate was about 2.7 per 10,000 workers.
In New Hampshire, 21 people died of work-related injuries and exposures. That sounds like a significant difference, but it’s proportionate to the difference in population and workforce size. The workforce fatality rate is nearly identical, at 2.8 per 10,000 workers.
Non-Fatal Workplace Injuries are More Common Than You May Think
While workplace deaths are relatively rare in both states, non-fatal injuries are much more common.
In 2021, there were about 73,600 reportable workplace injuries in Massachusetts. That’s about 2.8 reportable injuries for every 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees. In simple language, nearly 3% of Massachusetts workers suffered a reportable work injury during the year.
Of course, not every reportable injury is serious. But, the number of injuries that had an impact on the employee’s ability to work is still high. Of those 73,600, more than 41,000 resulted in days away from work. Another 5,000+ required a job transfer or some sort of light-duty restrictions.
How likely does that mean it is that the average worker will suffer an injury that impacts their ability to work? About 1.5 per 100 FTE employees will have an injury that results in days away from work, and another .2 per 100 FTE employees will require some kind of reassignment or accommodation due to the injury.
Some Industries are More Dangerous Than Others
It will come as no surprise that the type of work one does has a significant impact on the risk of injury or death on the job. But, the most dangerous professions and activities might not be what you would expect.
Of the 97 workplace fatalities in Massachusetts, 30 were related to harmful exposures, such as toxic chemicals. The remainder were attributable to:
- Transportation incidents – 21 deaths
- Slips, trips and falls – 18 deaths
- Violence by another person or animal – 17 deaths
- Contact with an object or equipment – 10 deaths
- Fire/explosion – 1 death
Industries where the reportable injury rate is significantly higher than the state average include:
- Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction – 19.3 cases/100 FTE
- Justice, Public Order, and Safety – 18.7 cases/100 FTE
- Ambulatory Healthcare Services – 10.3 cases/100 FTE
- Trucking Transportation – 10.2 cases/100 FTE
- Nursing Care Facilities – 10.00 cases/100 FTE
- Correctional Institutions – 9.7 cases/100 FTE
- Continuing Care and Assisted Living Facilities – 8.7 cases/100 FTE
- Vocational Rehab Services – 8.5 cases/100 FTE
- Waste Management and Remediation – 6.3 cases/100 FTE
- Warehousing and Storage – 6.1 cases/100 FTE
In other words, there are some industries in which nearly one in five employees can expect to have a reportable injury in any given year.
Other industries fall well below the average for all industries. Some won’t come as a surprise, such as Finance and Insurance (just .1 reportable cases/100 FTE). Others may be unexpected, such as Chemical Manufacturing (.6 cases/100 FTE). While the former is likely due to the nature of the work, the latter can probably be attributed to regulations and safeguards in the industry.
What Happens If I’m Injured at Work in Massachusetts?
Your first step after a Massachusetts work injury should be to report the injury to your employer. Partly, that’s for your safety and the safety of your co-workers. But, there’s another reason to act promptly in reporting an injury: if you don’t report the injury right away, it may be harder to establish a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy for most Massachusetts on-the-job injuries. That means you usually can’t sue your employer. Instead, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Partial replacement income should start shortly after your injury, and your medical care will be covered as you go instead of reimbursed later. But, you won’t have access to other forms of compensation that you might in a personal injury case, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
When Do I Need a Work Injury Lawyer?
You won’t always need a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer after a work injury. However, you should consider talking to an experienced work injury lawyer if:
- Your claim has been denied
- The insurance carrier is dragging its feet on processing your claim or paying benefits
- You’ve been cleared to return to work when you don’t feel medically ready
- Your benefits have been approved but you aren’t receiving as much compensation as you believe you should be
- You’ve been offered a lump-sum settlement to close out your claim
- A third party such as an equipment manufacturer or delivery person who came into your workplace may be partly responsible for your injury
It’s important to get advice in each of these circumstances. Though the workers’ comp system was designed to be non-adversarial and speed up the payment of benefits the injured worker would need to get by during recovery, it doesn’t always work out that way. And, if someone other than your employer or a co-worker played a part in causing your accident, you may have a different type of claim.
To learn more, call 978-459-3085 or fill out our contact form right now.
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