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Death On The Job: The Toll Of Neglect, 2020

Published Sunday, October 11, 2020
by National AFL-CIO News
Death On The Job: The Toll Of Neglect, 2020

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - This 2020 edition of Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect marks the 29th year the National AFL-CIO has produced a report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s Workers.

This report features national and state information on workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses, the number and frequency of workplace inspections, penalties, funding, staffing and Public Employee coverage under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

It also includes information on the state of mine safety and health, and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This December will be 50 years since Congress enacted the OSH Act, promising Workers in this country the right to a safe job.

More than 618,000 Workers now can say their lives have been saved since the passage of the OSH Act. 

Since that time, workplace safety and health conditions have improved, but too many Workers remain at serious risk of injury, illness or death as chemical plant explosions, major fires, construction collapses, infectious disease outbreaks, workplace assaults and other preventable workplace tragedies continue to occur.

Many other workplace hazards kill and disable thousands of Workers each year.

In 2018, 5,250 Workers lost their lives on the job as a result of traumatic injuries, according to fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The rate of fatal job injuries in 2018 remained the same as 2017, at 3.5 per 100,000 Workers.

Each day in this country, an average of 14 Workers die because of job injuries - Women and Men who go to work, never to return home to their families and loved ones.

This does not include Workers who die from occupational diseases, estimated to be 95,000 each year.

Chronic occupational diseases receive less attention, because most are not detected until years after Workers have been exposed to toxic chemicals, and because occupational illnesses often are misdiagnosed and poorly tracked.

All total, on average 275 Workers die each day due to job injuries and illnesses.

Workplace deaths increased for Latino Workers in 2018: 961 Latino Workers died on the job, an increase from 903 deaths in 2017.

The fatality rate among Latino Workers (3.7 per 100,000) continues to be higher than the overall fatality rate of 3.5 per 100,000 Workers.

In 2018, 67% of Latino Workers who died on the job (641) were born outside of the United States.

Fatalities among all Foreign-Born or Immigrant Workers continue to be a serious problem.

In 2018, there were 1,028 workplace deaths reported for all Immigrant Workers, the highest number of fatalities in at least 12 years.

In 2018, workplace deaths increased for Black Workers: 615 Black Workers died on the job, an increase from 530 deaths in 2017 and a 46% increase in the last decade.

The fatal injury rate for Black Workers increased in 2018 to 3.6 per 100,000 Workers from 3.2 in 2017, now higher than the overall fatality rate (3.5).

This is the first time the fatality rate for Black Workers has been greater than the overall fatality rate in at least five years.

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