‘Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect’

The AFL-CIO has issued the 2006 “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” report in conjunction with Workers Memorial Day.  The report is available for review on the AFL-CIO website.

The report provides national and state-by-state data on job fatalities and injuries and OSHA enforcement.  This year’s report shows an upward trend in the rate and number of job fatalities with the fatality rate increasing in construction, manufacturing, transportation and utilities.  Fatalities also increased significantly among Latino and foreign-born workers.

The report shows that protections across the states vary widely.  Wyoming, Alaska and Montana had the highest fatality rates in 2004, while Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont had the lowest.  It would take Federal OSHA 117 years to inspect all the workplaces under its jurisdiction just once.  The average federal OSHA penalty for a serious violation was $873.

The report includes tables on Hispanic and immigrant workers including worker fatalities by state for each population.  It also includes information on mining fatalities by state.

A new study by researchers at Michigan State University suggests government statistics undercount the number of illnesses and injuries that occur in U.S. workplaces each year, largely as a result of underreporting by employers.  The researchers at MSU analyzed data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that the statistics failed to count roughly two-thirds of nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in Michigan over a three-year period. 

This has been a long time position of the IAM&AW Safety and Health Department. Employers and employees alike have incentives to underreport injuries.  In addition, the government survey omits large groups of workers at employers who aren’t required by law to report, including government employees, self-employed people and workers on farms.

This year the entire Death on the Job report is available on the AFL-CIO web site in PDF format.  Additional hard copies of the report are available from the AFL-CIO Safety and Health office at a cost of $10.00 each (202-637-5366).

The full report can be found at:

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/upload/doj_2006.pdf

The report can also be downloaded in sections at:

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/doj_2006.cfm