In 2010, 4,690 workers were killed on the job – an average of 13 workers every day – and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, according to a new AFL-CIO report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” As a comparison point, in 2009, 4,551 people died on the job. West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota and North Dakota were among states with the highest workplace fatality rates while New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were states with the lowest rates. Latino workers, especially those born outside of the United States, continue to face higher rates of workplace fatalities -- 8 percent higher – than other workers.
The report notes that in 2010, more than 3.8 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, experienced work-related injuries and illnesses this year. The report includes state-by-state profiles of workers’ safety and health and features state and national information on workplace fatalities, injuries, illnesses, the number and frequency of workplace inspections, penalties, funding, staffing and public employee coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The report also addresses delays in the standard-making process, ergonomic injuries, new and emerging hazards like pandemic flu and other infectious diseases.
“While we have made great strides in making our workplaces safer, too many women and men in this country and around the world continue to be hurt or killed on the job. Workers continue to be exposed to well-known hazards that are poorly regulated and inadequately controlled,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “The Obama administration has moved forward to strengthen protections with tougher enforcement, but business groups and Republican legislators have launched a major assault on regulations to protect people on the job. As we move forward to build an economy for our future, it’s important that we commit together to developing and issuing the kinds of rules critical to ensuring the safety of all working people.”
The report’s release came after hundreds of vigils and actions held across the country this past weekend to commemorate Workers Memorial Day on April 28.