Occupational Health & Safety

AFL-CIO Report: 13 Workers Killed on the Job Each Day in 2010

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, and more.

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.

The risk of job fatalities and injuries varies widely from state to state, in part due to the mix of industries. West Virginia led the country with the highest fatality rate (13.1 per 100,000), followed by Wyoming (11.9), Alaska (11.8), South Dakota (8.6), and North Dakota (8.4). The lowest state fatality rate (0.9 per 100,000) was reported in New Hampshire, followed by Massachusetts (1.7), Rhode Island (1.8), and California, Delaware, and New Jersey (2.0). This compares with a national fatality rate of 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010.

Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of job fatalities, with a fatality rate of 3.9 per 100,000 workers in 2010. There were 707 fatal injuries among Latino workers, down from 713 in 2009. Sixty-two percent of these fatalities (441 deaths) were among workers born outside the United States.

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. 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 cost of job injuries and illnesses is estimated at $250 billion to $300 billion a year.

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