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New data: Illinoisans lost to work-related fatal injuries in 2019

On March 17, 2021, a press release revealed new federal statistics about 2019 employee deaths in Illinois workplaces. The data included not only people earning wages or salaries, but also those who were self employed. We wrote in this space previously about last year’s release of 2018 data, where we reported that there were 184 such fatalities in that year.

Our state’s numbers went down to 158 work fatalities in 2019. Federal data shows that the range of annual fatal work injuries in Illinois has ranged from a low of 146 (2012) to a high of 262 (1996). The categorical distribution for Illinois 2019 occupational deaths:

  • Transportation related: 34%
  • Injuries from people or animals, including those from violence: 20%
  • Falls, slips and trips: 16%
  • Contact with equipment and objects: 15%
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments 11%
  • Other: 4%

A closer look:

  • Almost all fatal injuries by persons or animals were from intentional injuries by other people. The remaining were self-inflicted by the workers themselves.
  • The most common type of fatal transportation incident involved “motorized land vehicles” on roadways.
  • The majority of deaths from falls, slips or trips involved workers who fell to lower levels.
  • Roughly half of the fatal exposures to substances or environments involved electricity.
  • Most of the fatal contact with objects or equipment involved workers being struck.
  • Most fatal occupational injuries occurred under private employers (88%), with the rest happening in government employment
  • Of private employers, the top two goods-producing industries involving fatalities were construction and agriculture.
  • Of private employers providing services, the top two industries were “trade, transportation and utilities” followed by “leisure and hospitality.”

The statistics also contain eye-opening information about the kinds of occupations involved as well as the demographic makeup of those Illinoisans losing their lives at work in 2019.

Anyone whose loved one, family member, relative or provider dies during employment may be eligible for death benefits through Illinois workers’ compensation, which may include weekly compensation, burial benefits and reimbursement of any medical expenses the family paid for the fatal injuries.

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