Fatal Occupational injury in New York: According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries in New York State (NYS) with the top rates for fatal injury are: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. The most injuries occurred at a rate of 43.6, and the overall 2015 fatal injury rate was 2.7.
In 2016 in NYS 3.1 was the overall fatal injury rate. Most injuries came from the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries at rate of 31.2. And in 2017 in NYS the overall fatal injury rate increased by 0.4 to 3.5. Again, the most injuries came from the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries at a stable rate of 31.2.
Both the fatal occupational injuries in NYS increased from 2015-2017, as well as the overall fatal injury rates. There was only stability in that most injuries within the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries remained at 31.2 between 2016 and 2017.
In NYS fatal injury counts for 2017 totaled: 313; for 2016 the state fatal injury counts totaled: 272; and in 2015 the fatal injury counts totaled: 236. In all, these show a continuous increase in fatal injuries in NYS, from 2015-2017.
It seems to me that NYS must implement more protocols to ensure the safety of its service workers. And since most fatalities occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries, a focus on labor safety in those areas, must occur. And while the overall injuries in those industries have decreased, from 2015 to 2017, the fatal injury rate in NYS is still high.
Furthermore, workers in these industries must be able to come forward with their concerns, and not face retaliation. Carly Fox, a worker rights advocate, reported in her 2017 article that workers on an Upstate dairy farm were fired, for organizing a health and safety committee, to ensure proper working conditions for farm workers .
And while NYS has acted in some regards to protect laborers in these vocations, it seems the power lies in the hands of farm owners, thus it begs the question, “how many more workplace injuries and fatalities will it take for lasting improvements in workplace safety to occur?” (“Another NY farmworker dies on the job; we must get serious about safety,” 2017). One can only hope the answer comes sooner rather than later.