Workplace safety needs to be improved in Pennsylvania and throughout the country after a new report found that 150 people died from work-related injuries or illnesses every day in 2011. The report by the AFL-CIO said that fatal workplace injuries resulted in 13 deaths every day, and work-related illnesses killed 137 workers every day in 2011.
The report’s findings are very concerning as the workplace fatality rate has remained unchanged during the last few years in the U.S. despite enforcement programs initiated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Workers are supposed to be properly trained and provided proper safety equipment but unfortunately, some companies do not follow the safety standards and put workers lives at risk every day.
The report said that workers in the fishing, logging and agricultural industry have the highest risk of suffering a fatal workplace injury due to the many safety hazards they face while working. Workplace safety advocates say that this industry along with the construction industry remain very dangerous for workers because employers don’t always train workers on proper safety precautions. In addition, many workers in these industries do not feel comfortable reporting potential safety hazards because many are temporary workers and can be easily replaced.
The report shows that certain industries are more dangerous to workers than others. However, the report also found that race also seems to be a factor in some fatal workplace accidents and injuries. The report found that Latino workers have the highest workplace fatality rate compared to all other workers.
They reported that the rate of fatal workplace accidents among Latino workers in the U.S. was 14 percent higher than any other race. In addition, 68 percent of the Latinos who were victims of fatal accidents in 2011 were not born in the U.S. Researchers believe that Latinos have a higher workplace fatality rate due to the types of jobs and industries they more commonly work in, putting them at a much higher risk for suffering a fatal workplace accident.
In the report, the researchers concluded that more work needs to be done at a federal and state level to prevent fatal work accidents from happening in the future. They said that Congress should pass the Protecting America’s Workers Act to help OSHA inspect more workplaces and prevent fatal accidents.
Source: MSNBC, “US work-related deaths top 150 a day, finds AFL-CIO report,” Ned Resnikoff, May 8, 2013