Posted on Jan 24, 2011
The number of worker injuries and worker fatalities across the state dropped from 2008 to 2009, but many safety experts say that it isn’t because Missouri is doing a better job at preventing accidents. Instead, the major reason for the drop in worker deaths and worker injuries is simply that there are fewer construction jobs and therefore fewer people working on fewer projects.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 142 Missouri workers died in on-the-job accidents in 2009, down from 148 worker deaths recorded in 2008. However, this six percent decrease in worker deaths was probably mostly due to the drop in new construction and the overall economic climate.

In Southeastern Missouri alone, three workers have died recently in on-the-job accidents. On the Illinois border, Zane Marin died outside of Cape Girardeau when a structure collapsed, causing him to fall into over a foot of wet cement. In Jackson, Missouri, a Cape Girardeau painter was killed when he accidentally brushed against a high-voltage power line while working on scaffolding. Also in Cape Girardeau, 61-year-old Glen Sinclair was killed when he was run over with an industrial mower. Finally, 72-year-old Daniel Sebaugh died on a tractor accident while farming.

Of course, non-fatal worker injuries and accidents also result in lost work time, painful recoveries, and sometimes-permanent disabilities. In Missouri in 2009, over 16,000 workers missed time on the job because of work injuries – many from falls, falling objects, and heavy equipment. Others missed work due to repetitive stress injuries that can include carpal tunnel syndrome, back issues, and joint problems.

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