Since Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, workplace safety and health conditions have improved. But too many workers remain at serious risk of injury, illness or death.
In 2011, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,693 workers were killed on the job—an average of 13 workers every day—and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases. Workers suffer an additional 7.6 million to 11.4 million job injuries and illnesses each year. The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $250 billion to $300 billion a year.
The risk of job fatalities and injuries varies widely from state to state—from 12.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers in North Dakota to 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 in New Hampshire. Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of job fatalities, with a fatality rate of 4.0 per 100,000 workers in 2011.
This year's edition of Death on the Job details not only the data about workplace death, injuries and illnesses, but also the reasons behind them and what must be done to save lives.