Friday, April 25, 2008

‘Death on the Job’ Report: More Workers Killed, Fewer Employer Penalties

More workers are being killed on the job, but employers who are found to have violated federal safety laws in fatality cases are paying as little as $750 in penalties for each death, according to the latest edition of the AFL-CIO’s annual report Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.

Released today, the 17th edition of the national and state-by-state profiles on worker safety and health in the United States reveals that in 2006, 5,840 workers died from workplace injuries, compared with 5,734 in 2005. The figures show a continued and significant increase in fatalities among Latino and foreign-born workers. The year 2006 is the most recent year for which U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures are available.

The report shows that each day in 2006, 16 workers were fatally injured on the job and more than 11,200 were hurt or made sick. But the price workers pay for toiling in dangerous jobs climbs even higher when the tally includes the 50,000 to 60,000 workers who die every year from occupational diseases.

The report was released in conjunction with Workers Memorial Day, April 28, a day set aside every year to honor workers killed and hurt on the job and highlight the need for improved job safety standards.

New safety laws and protections for workers have ground to a halt under the Bush administration, says Death on the Job.

Important standards close to completion at the end of the Clinton administration have been withdrawn or repeatedly delayed. Overall, dozens of OSHA and MSHA standards were pulled from the administration’s regulatory agenda, including MSHA standards on mine rescue teams, self-contained self-rescue devices, and escape ways and refuges which may have helped prevent the fatalities at the Sago mine.


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