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‘Horrific trend’: Virginia reports surge in workplace fatalities in 2016

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Photo: Poligrafistka/iStockphoto

Richmond, VA – Virginia experienced 29 workplace-related fatalities in the first seven months of 2016, eight of which occurred in July alone, according to the state’s Department of Labor and Industry.

The state recorded 31 on-the-job deaths in all of 2015.

“If this horrific trend in workplace deaths continues, Virginia will experience an 80 percent increase in fatal accidents investigated by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program in 2016,” DOLI Commissioner C. Ray Davenport said in a public service announcement released Aug. 4.

Falls accounted for 20 percent of the 2016 fatalities, the agency states. In the announcement, DOLI outlines some of the fatalities, includes links to numerous resources, and offers recommendations for preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. Among them:

  • Conduct a safety and health “stand-down” to discuss the recognition and correction of workplace hazards.
  • Work with front-line employees to make the workplace safer, happier and healthier.
  • Increase hazard and accident reporting.
  • Increase attention toward the safety of vulnerable workers, including temporary employees or those not fluent in English.

The department also encourages small businesses to take advantage of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program’s free on-site consultation services.

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