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Workplace deaths are on the rise in Wisconsin

The number of workers who were killed on the job nationwide went down when comparing 2011 to 2012, from 4,693 to 4,383. The numbers regarding workers who were shot while at work remained almost the same over the two-year period at 375; however, two of the 2012 shooting incidents had at least five victims each.

Wisconsin's numbers in this area tell a different story than the national figures. According to federal statistics that were released on Dec. 11, workers who were killed on the job in 2012 went up by 28 percent, partially due to the increase in workplace shootings. Fatal shootings from coworkers were involved in 16 workplace deaths compared to only two in 2012, and there were also five suicides by gun in 2012 compared to three in 2011.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 114 fatal work injuries occurred in the state in 2012, up from 89 in the prior year. The majority of the workers who were killed were men, and agriculture accounted for 26 of them. Transportation incidents presented the biggest risk to workers, accounting for a total of 37 workers who died in 2012.

Although no victims were identified in the federal report, a worshiper, a cook, a temple president and three priests were killed by a white supremacist in a Sikh temple, though the worshiper was not included in the statistics. Also, another worker's estranged husband killed three workers at a salon.

Fatal accidents in the workplace are always a possibility, though they are usually more expected at high-risk jobs. In the event that a worker is killed in the workplace, the surviving family might have the option of filing a civil claim in the pursuit of compensation to help with final expenses.

Source: LaCrosse Tribune, "Fatalities at work rise 28 percent in Wisconsin", M.L. Johnson, December 11, 2013

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