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Workplace deaths increase for first time in a decade

May 15, 2006
For the first time in a decade the rate of fatal workplace injuries increased, according to a new AFL-CIO job safety report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect — A National and State-by-State Profile of Worker Safety and Health in the United States.”

“America’s corporations must invest more in health and safety protections for working men and women, and our nation’s leaders must start holding them tightly accountable,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

The study shows the reported rates of workplace fatalities rose overall while the reported rates of illnesses and injury declined slightly. The reported rates of workplace fatalities rose 4.1 percent in 2004 from 4 percent in 2003. On an average day in 2004,152 workers lost their lives as a result of workplace injuries and diseases; another 11,780 were injured, according to the study.

The study also shows workplace deaths for Latino and immigrant workers sharply increased. In 2004, the fatality rate among Latino workers was 19 percent higher than the fatal injury rate for all U.S. workers. At the national level, fatal injuries to immigrant Latino workers increased 11 percent from 2003 to 2004. Of the foreign-born workers who were fatally injured at work in 2004, 60 percent were Latino.

The AFL-CIO study was released as part of Workers Memorial Day, April 28. For a copy of the report, go to www.aflcio.org/deathonthejob.

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