U.S. workers dying in steady numbers

According to a report released by the AFL-CIO, workers in New York and other states may no longer be enjoying the benefits of improving workplace standards. Although the national rate of workplace fatalities had been decreasing since the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was passed in 1970, that trend recently leveled out. Experts now claim that the daily rate of U.S. job fatalities hasn’t really changed in the last three years.

The AFL-CIO report examined data from agencies such as OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The figures collected by these bodies revealed that deaths directly resulting from incidents like construction injuries have remained steady at approximately 13 each day. Researchers also claimed that an additional 137 workers died every day because of work-related illnesses and injuries caused by exposure and other factors.

Although the AFL-CIO’s report strongly suggests that Congress pass a new piece of legislation that is designed to strengthen OSHA, it’s unclear how this proposed Protecting America’s Workers Act would actually improve safety in workplaces like construction sites. Although improper enforcement of safety rules has been cited in past incidents that led to worker deaths and negatively affected communities nearby, it is as yet unclear how to uniformly reduce accidents in high-risk fields.

Workers who are injured by seemingly minor on-the-job incidents may contract serious symptoms later. Many victims of brain injury, back injury and other forms of trauma seek legal advisement on gaining compensation and on how to prove that their employers’ poor practices contributed to their injuries.

Source: MSNBC, “US work-related deaths top 150 a day, finds AFL-CIO report“, Ned Resnikoff, May 08, 2013


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