Plenty of people have decided that they no longer want or need to be traditional employees. Instead, they have joined the growing gig economy to enjoy the freedom that comes with being an independent worker. However, numbers from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) indicate that full-time freelancers and independent contractors are not immune from workplace fatalities. In fact, data shows that gig economy workers make up a significant portion of annual worker deaths.
The CFOI used information collected between 2016 and 2017 to determine exactly how many gig economy workers were killed on the job. What researchers discovered was that each year, roughly 610 to 660 workers died while doing a project. Although two years is not necessarily a long time, it illustrates the fact that a gig may not be any less risky than one performed for an employer.
Worker fatalities made up about 12.3 percent of all workplace deaths in the two years that were studied. During the timeframe, a total of 1,275 gig workers died. At this point, investigative scientists are looking closer at which types of gig-related jobs are most hazardous.
Delving into the CFOI’s charts, it is easy to see that big rig truckers, construction workers and other laborers, landscapers and tree trimmers, and loggers made up the biggest share of independent workers who lost their lives performing a task. Yet, drivers of taxis and peer-to-peer ridesharing vehicles also comprised a solid portion of the number of people who died. The older the workers were, the more apt they were to have a fatal injury.
Fatalities related to transportation topped the list of reasons that independent workers died in 2016 or 2017. Transportation was followed by slip and falls, as well as violence and being struck or caught by objects.
People who choose to earn a living in the gig economy should consider the types of jobs they accept to lessen their fatality risk. Additionally, they must maintain their equipment. If they use equipment supplied by someone else, they should always insist on an inspection to feel secure. They should also be sure that they are not being asked to do work that puts them in the category of traditional employee, even though an employer may call them an independent worker or contractor. Traditional employees enjoy benefits, including Workers’ Compensation, which is important for someone who is hurt while performing work.
If you are an independent worker who was injured performing your job duties, you may be eligible for benefits. Contact the Allegheny workers’ compensation lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. to talk about your situation and review your rights. For a free consultation, call us at 412-765-1888 or contact us online. Located in Pittsburgh, we represent clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Washington County, Lawrence County, and Allegheny County.