May 4, 2015
A study of 2013 statistics shows 4,585 workers were killed on the job in the United States, and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of 150 workers each day from hazardous working conditions. Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect marks the 24th year the AFL-CIO has produced a report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers.
HIGHEST & LOWEST STATES FOR WORKER DEATHS:
Over the past four years, the job fatality rate has declined slightly each year, with a rate of 3.3 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2013 compared with a rate of 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010.
North Dakota had the highest fatality rate in the nation (14.9 per 100,000 workers), followed by Wyoming (9.5), West Virginia (8.6), Alaska (7.9) and New Mexico (6.7).
The lowest state fatality rate (1.6 per 100,000 workers) was reported for Hawaii, followed by Washington (1.7), Connecticut and Massachusetts (1.8), and New York and Rhode Island (2.1).
In 2013, a number of states experienced significant increases in fatality rates from their 2012 rates. Idaho experienced a 61% increase, followed by Arizona (52%), New Mexico (40%), Missouri (30%), Massachusetts (29%) and West Virginia (25%).
CAUSES AND INDUSTRY SECTORS:
North Dakota continues to stand out as an exceptionally dangerous and deadly place to work. For the third year in a row, North Dakota had the highest job fatality rate in the nation. The state’s job fatality rate of 14.9 per 100,000 was more than four times the national average. North Dakota’s fatality rate and number of deaths have more than doubled since 2007. Fifty-six workers were killed in North Dakota in 2013. The fatality rate in the mining and oil and gas extraction sector in North Dakota was an alarming 84.7 per 100,000, nearly seven times the national fatality rate of 12.4 per 100,000 in this industry; and the construction sector fatality rate in North Dakota was 44.1 per 100,000, more than four times the national fatality rate of 9.7 per 100,000 for construction.
Sixty-six percent of the fatalities (542 deaths) in 2013 were among workers born outside the United States. There was a sharp increase in Latino deaths among grounds maintenance workers. Specifically, deaths related to tree trimming and pruning doubled among Latino workers since 2012, and 87% of the landscaping deaths among Latino workers were immigrants.
Contractors accounted for 16% of all worker fatalities in 2013, or 749 deaths. Construction and extraction workers accounted for half of these deaths.
Workplace violence continues to be the second leading cause of job fatalities in the United States (after transportation incidents), responsible for 773 worker deaths and 26,520 lost-time injuries in 2013. Women workers suffered 70% of the lost-time injuries related to workplace violence. The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $250 billion to $360 billion a year.
The Executive Summary of the report claims that more than 510,000 workers now can say their lives have been saved since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which promised workers in this country the right to a safe job. Since that time, workplace safety and health conditions have improved, but too many workers remain at serious risk of injury, illness or death. Many preventable workplace disasters do not make the headlines, and kill and disable thousands of workers each year.
Source: AFL-CIO, Death On The Job – a 216 page report released April 2015