Safety and OSHA News

AFL-CIO report: 150 U.S. workers die every day

A new AFL-CIO report dug through worker fatality data and found some trends in U.S. workplace safety. The organization estimates that 150 workers die every day from hazardous working conditions. 

For the 25th year, AFL-CIO released its report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” The comprehensive report has some interesting numbers regarding workplace safety.

In 2014, 4,821 workers died on the job in the U.S. and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases. All together, that means an estimated 150 people die every day from hazardous working conditions.

Here are some other trends from the report:

  • AFL-CIO says older workers are at an increased risk of fatal injuries. Thirty-five percent of all fatalities in 2014 occurred in workers age 55 or older. Workers 65 or older have three times the risk of dying on the job.
  • Latino workers are also more at risk on the job. There were 804 Latino workers killed on the job in 2014, and 64% of them were immigrants.
  • The oil and gas industry is among the nation’s most dangerous. The fatality rate for the industry is five times higher than the national average, and states with prominent oil and gas industries are among the most dangerous places to work.
  • Workplace violence is a growing problem, and women and healthcare workers are frequently targets. Women and healthcare workers suffered 66% of lost-time injuries related to workplace violence.

The AFL-CIO also said OSHA’s level of enforcement is still too limited. There are 1,840 federal and state inspectors compared to eight million workplaces to inspect. That means there are:

  • enough inspectors for federal OSHA to visit every workplace once every 145 years, and
  • one federal and state inspector for every 74,760 U.S. workers.

The report did note some positives in safety enforcement, including:

  • OSHA issuing a final silica rule in 2016 that’ll reduce dust exposures in general industry, maritime and construction sectors. The rule will prevent more than 600 deaths and 1,000 cases of silicosis every year.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issuing a final rule to reduce coal exposure limits and require continuous monitoring of dust in underground coal mines. The rule should prevent thousands of new cases of black lung.
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