New York, NY – Deaths on-the-job is a national crisis, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.  “It’s well past the time that folks in Washington, D.C., stop playing politics and take action to prevent these tragedies.”

In 2017, the number of worker deaths totaled  5,147. Although the number was less than 2016 with 5,190, deaths on-the-job needs to be addressed at the national level. Also another 95,000 die each year because of on-the-job illnesses. In 2017, about 275 people died from work-related causes each day.

“Too many workers become ill, injured and die each year under the watch of their employers who, in some cases, are repeat offenders and among the world’s most profitable companies,” National COSH Co-Executive Director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb said in an April 22 press release. “Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace, but we continue to hear disturbing reports of abuse, exploitation, harassment and threats to silence victims. A person’s life and the lives of their families are not just the cost of doing business.”

Transportation incidents are still the leading cause of workplace deaths, with 2,077 in 2017. Slips, trips and falls were second at 887, and workplace violence was third at 807. The work-related fatality rate for workers over the age of 65 is 10.3 per 100,000 workers – nearly three times greater than the overall national rate of 3.5 per 100,000. 

Acting OSHA administrator Loren Sweatt said workplace safety “is everyone’s business and must be everyone’s priority.” She continued, “Safety must start on Day One and be a continuous process. OSHA will continue to work with its partners across the country – employers, workers, trade associations, labor unions, and safety and health professionals – to ensure that every workplace is safe and healthful.”


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