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On-the-job deaths exceed 50,000 per year

The AFL-CIO released a report at the beginning of May that indicated about 13 people died on the job each day in 2011. In addition, work-related illnesses claimed the lives about 137 individuals per day during the same year. The number of fatalities on the job initially declined after the enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. However, that number has leveled out in the past three years.

The outdoor industries of fishing and logging had the highest number of deaths; however, public jobs in nursing and fire safety had the highest number of non-fatal workplace injuries and sicknesses. North Dakota had the highest number of deaths on the job; Pennsylvania boasted the lowest number.

Latino employees suffer a higher death rate on the job than other races with a mortality rate about 14 percent higher than the population in general. About 68 percent of Latinos who died at work in 2011 were not born in this nation.

The report tracked information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Health and Safety Administration. In the wake of the one of the worst workplace accidents in recent times, a fertilizer plant exploded and killed 14 people, injured hundreds more and devastated the surrounding area. Experts believe that part of the blame for the accident lies in infrequent inspections and an overall lack of enforcement of regulations. In addition, OSHA suffers from serious understaffing that prevents them from workplace inspections in a timely manner. Legislation called Protecting America's Workers Act is in Congress and could provide much-needed support for OSHA operations.

Workplace injuries and deaths are more common than many people might think. An employment attorney might be able to help someone injured on the job file a lawsuit to claim fair and just compensation.

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

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