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Workplace accidents lead to over 700 deaths in 5 years

If a job entails public safety or the operating heavy equipment, it might seem obvious that it could be a dangerous workplace. On the other hand, some professions that may seem innocuous have little known yet very serious risks. Social workers and those working in the medical field are particularly susceptible to dangerous working conditions. Massachusetts workers certainly face their fair share of dangers while working, with over 700 on-the-job deaths from workplace accidents occurring in the past five years.

Social workers are put into dangerous situations often because of the very nature of their jobs. In 2011, a 25-year-old social worker died after being stabbed and beaten. Her attacker was one of her clients at a group home. Another man working with persons dealing with mental health and drug addiction issues was attacked with a utility knife by one of his patients. With six deaths on the job since 2008, social work is among the most dangerous professions.

These stories may seem dire for Massachusetts workers but the good news is that workplace fatalities have decreased over the past year. In fact, the only field that didn't see a decrease was the construction industry, which actually saw a five percent increase. Often language barriers lead to workplace accidents in the construction industry. Safety warnings delivered in English to non-English speaking workers or printed on equipment in just English are not very effective.

Some may wonder what Massachusetts workers can do to protect themselves from workplace accidents and potential fatal injuries. Being aware of the work environment and taking precautions when dangerous situations are encountered to ensure an individual's own personal safety could go a long way to preventing accidents and even death. However, if an accident, injury or death occurs on the job, workers and their families can seek workers' compensation benefits to help defray unexpected expenses.

Source: Go Local Worcester, The Deadliest Jobs in New England, Stephen Beale, Feb. 13, 2014

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