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Florida: Highest on-the-job death rate

August 27, 2004
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An analysis of death records by The Palm Beach Post shows Florida workers are more likely to die on the job than in any other state.

A total of 354 work-related deaths in 2002 made Florida the third-deadliest state, behind California and Texas. But the newspaper reports Florida's death rate of 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers was higher than the rate of 3.8 in Texas and 2.8 in California.

Many deaths are in construction and agriculture, two industries that drive both the state's economy and its workplace incident figures. These industries employ thousands of undocumented immigrants. The analysis found that workers typically die due to the lack of simple safety measures, like seat belts in vans transporting farm workers to fields and safety harnesses for construction workers climbing scaffolding.

OSHA officials acknowledge they lack the inspectors to visit high-risk job sites as often as they would like, according to the Associated Press. Moreover, the agency's maximum fine is only $70,000 per violation.

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