According to a new article from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an American worker’s risk of dying is higher than a European worker.
The BLS found that in Europe in 2010, there were 3,353 fatal injuries at private employers, and 2,530 in the United States. Though there were more workplace fatalities in Europe, these numbers translated to a rate of 2.8 fatalities per 100,000 European employees and 3.1 fatalities per 100,000 American employees.
The BLS also found that each occupational group, with the exception of finance, insurance, professional, scientific and technical services, had higher death rates in the U.S. than in Europe. The fatal injury rates amongst agricultural, forestry, fishing, water supply, waste management, transportation, and storage workers were also twice as high in the U.S. than they were in Europe.
“These statistics may be due to the larger scope of land that the United States contains highlighting more rural areas whereby a severe injury may not get treated immediately,” says Robert Wisniewski, P.C. at the Law Offices of Robert Wisniewski. “The implementation of more technological equipment may also be a factor.”
Although the BLS successfully produced a comparison of aggregate counts and rates for fatal work-related injuries, the agency cautions readers and data users not to draw any conclusions about relative workplace risk or safety because of the study’s limitations. The comparison is meant to act as a first step in an attempt to help employers and safety organizations identify and understand the differences of fatal work-related injuries in the United States and Europe.
“For example, although the employment-based fatality rate for the United States in NACE A (Agriculture, forestry and fishing) is nearly twice the rate for the European Union … this does not necessarily mean that all work in this industry branch is more hazardous in the United States than in the European Union,” reports the BLS article. “For one thing, it is not possible to compare the circumstances surrounding the fatalities. In addition, as noted earlier, the EU data exclude certain types of cases, such as road accidents in the United Kingdom and Ireland.”
Despite the BLS’s disclaimer, the comparison’s findings are still quite shocking. Though conclusions cannot be based off of the comparison, it does signify the need for further investigation, which may yield methods to improve workplace safety in the United States.