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33 Workers Killed In South Florida Workplace Accidents in 2012

Across Florida, 227 workers lost their lives in fatal workplace accidents in 2012, according to reports compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Thirty-three of those fatal accidents occurred here in South Florida, eight more than in 2011, and all but one involved men.

Florida workers in the construction industry are at the highest risk of a fatal injury while on the job, based on existing statistics: 41 construction workers were killed in a workplace accident in 2012. Fatal accidents on or near a construction site were most likely to involve a motor vehicle accident or a fall from heights.

Landscapers, roofers and a traffic worker joined construction workers who were killed on the job in 2012. In addition to falls from heights, crush injuries and electrocution were common causes of serious, life-threatening workplace accidents in South Florida.

During the past year, OSHA has conducted 74 impromptu investigations of Florida worksites although not including public employers like Port Everglades. Two workers were killed at Port Everglades earlier this year when a portable scissor lift fell, fatally injuring the public workers and seriously injuring another. In a separate incident, a Port Everglades worker was involved in a crush injury when a large container fell on his leg.

OSHA levied over $520,000 worth in fines during the 74 site investigations for an average of $7,000 per visit. OSHA says it has been successful at identifying trends in workplace fatalities and educating employers and their employees on how to avoid the same scenarios. It gave workplace drowning as an example. Landscapers throughout South Florida had a high occurrence of drowning while on the job but the number of deaths markedly decreased after education and awareness programs were rolled out by OSHA, according to the agency.

Source: Sun-Sentinel, "Work-related death toll rises," June 3, 2013

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