March 20, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Oregon agency releases 2012 work-related fatality numbers
Article provided by Hansen Malagon
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On March 5, 2013, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, or DCBS, publicly announced in a news release preliminary numbers of 2012 occupational fatalities in the state: 30 deaths. While this is slightly more than last year, it is still much decreased from earlier decades.
For example, the release mentions that in the 90s, 55 deaths per year was the average and in the 80s, an average of 81 annual work-related deaths.
These state numbers are based on approved workers' compensation death claims in a particular year, based on claim approval dates, which may be later than the actual dates of death. (Complete work-related death numbers will be released later in the year, also taking into account fatalities of workers not covered by state workers' comp.)
The agency has a division called "Oregon OSHA" that has the responsibility to promote safety in the workplace. Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood comments that work fatalities can be "prevented by putting a greater focus on eliminating hazards in the workplace."
A closer look at the 2012 Oregon numbers
The statistics are grouped according to the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, by designated industries.
The construction and "transportation and warehousing" industries each had five deaths, apparently in line with historically high numbers in these risky jobs. The "agriculture, forestry, fishing" industry also reported five 2012 work-related fatalities.
Next in line was manufacturing at four, followed by "accommodation and food services," and state and local government with three each in each of these two job sectors.
Oregon workers' comp death benefits
Oregon workers' compensation law considers "compensable injury" that which is accidental and "arising out of and in the course of employment requiring medical services or resulting in disability or death."
When an Oregon worker dies from an injury received in an eligible work-related accident, a complex statute sets out formulas to calculate monthly death benefit amounts that will be paid to a surviving spouse, and to minor and adult children in high school. The law takes into account the decedent's average weekly wage and a wide variety of situations that surviving husbands, wives and kids might be in, and adjusts the formulas accordingly.
In addition to spouses and children, the law allows workers' comp death benefits for certain relatives who are completely or partially dependent on the wages of the deceased for support. The law names these particular relatives who may be eligible for workers' compensation payments because of the death of their supporting family members: parents, grandparents, siblings, half siblings, nieces and nephews.
The law also sets out a formula for calculating dependents' benefits based on half of the average monthly support received for the year before the injury that resulted in death.
Death benefits in Oregon also include burial and funeral expenses in an amount up to 20 times the deceased's average weekly wage.
Legal counsel can be crucial
Any spouse or child, or other dependent relative, of a worker who dies in an employment-related incident in Oregon, should speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney about death benefits, including funeral costs. A work injury lawyer can help fight for rightful benefits and explain family members' rights to death benefits.---
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