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AFL-CIO Now

13 Workers Killed Each Day on the Job in 2010

Springfield & Central Illinois Trades & Labor Council Honored Killed and Injured Workers at this memorial.

Each day in 2010, 13 workers on average were killed on the job—some 4,690 workers—and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, according to the AFL-CIO's annual report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” Released today, the report shows the number of those who died in 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available) is up from the 4,551 people who perished in 2009. This trend that has continued since 2004, the first year in a decade that saw the number of deaths on the job increase.

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.More than 3.8 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, experienced work-related injuries and illnesses in 2010, the most recent year for which there is data.

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). It also addresses delays in the standard-making process, ergonomic injuries, new and emerging hazards like pandemic flu and other infectious diseases.Noting that while "we have made great strides in making our workplaces safer," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said "too many women and men in this country and around the world continue to be hurt or killed on the job. 

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.

Thousands of working families took part in vigils and other actions across the country this past weekend to commemorate Workers Memorial Day on April 28

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