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Despite improvements, millions of workers are injured each year

Although some progress has been made in preventing workplace injuries in Maryland and across the country, there is still room for improvement. Labor Day week is a good time to discuss workplace injuries and how injured workers can receive compensation for their injuries.

Recently, Dr. Dustin Ballard wrote an interesting article that noted the progress that has been made in combating workplace accidents. In 1913, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that there were at least 23,000 industrial fatalities. Despite having a much larger workforce today, the BLS found that there were 4,547 workplace fatalities in 2010. Many of these deaths were concentrated in high-risk professions. Transportation workers suffered 1,115 deaths and construction and mining workers suffered 760 workplace fatalities in 2010.

Despite improvements in the rate of workplace deaths, non-fatal injuries remain a common problem. According to BLS data for 2009, there were more than 3.2 million workplace injuries in private sector jobs. Back injuries and falls remain a common problem for workers in all sectors, but workers who must do heavy lifting or work with heavy equipment are especially vulnerable to these types of injuries.

Maryland has a long tradition of recognizing the value of workers and compensating them for injuries that they sustain on the job. In the past, an injured worker needed to show that his employer was negligent in order to be compensated for his injuries. Today, the workers' compensation system removes many of the hurdles an injured worker faces, but the system can still be frustrating and confusing for many injured workers. Many workers who have been injured on the job have questions about how to navigate the workers' compensation system. For these workers, experienced workers' compensation attorneys are available to help.

Source: Marin Independent Journal, "Workplaces are safer but accidents still happen," Dr. Dustin Ballard, Sept. 5, 2011

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