Gesmer & Reynolds, P.C.

Nature of work-related fatalities in Illinois

At our law firm, we represent clients who have lost loved ones in work-related fatalities. We fight for proper Illinois workers' compensation death benefits for eligible surviving loved ones. In rare cases, survivors may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against employers or responsible third parties.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency also known as the BLS, gathers statistics about work injury and death nationally and state by state. Today we take a closer look at the circumstances of fatal work injuries in Illinois workplaces and which kinds of industries and occupations are most impacted.

2017 work fatalities in Illinois

According to the BLS, Illinois had 163 occupational fatalities in 2017, down from last year. By type of incident that caused work-related death, here are the top four:

  • Transportation: 61
  • Falls, slips or trips: 27
  • Contact with objects or equipment: 23
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments: 22

The industries with the most fatalities were:

  • Private transportation and warehousing: 42
  • Private construction: 26 (of which 21 were in the specialty trade contractors' sector)

Illinois occupations with the highest numbers in 2017:

  • Transportation and material moving: 59 (of which 34 were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers)
  • Construction and extraction: 25
  • Management: 14 (of which 10 were farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)

 Other significant numbers:

  • Men represented 91 percent of 2017 fatalities.
  • White non-Hispanic workers suffered 80 percent of work fatalities.
  • Just over half of 2017 work deaths were of workers 25-54 years old.
  • In 2017, about three-quarters of Illinois fatalities were of employees receiving wages or salaries, while one-quarter were self-employed.

Surviving spouses and other family members should seek legal advice after the death of a loved one in a work-related incident or from an occupational illness.


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