Nobody should be in danger for a dollar, but 4,836 people died in 2015 at work from machine malfunctions, equipment failures, falls from construction equipment, and other deadly and preventable causes. More than 50,000 people died from those work-related injuries and illnesses.
These are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, folks who simply worked for a living.
Safety has been losing the tug of war with profits for years. Death is the result, and the danger is highest for the most insecure workers: immigrants and the elderly. Immigrant fatalities on the job reached a 10-year high. Work kills people who are 65 or older at 2.5 times the rate of everyone else.
Strong safeguards can prevent these tragedies. President Donald Trump should stop rolling worker protections back and put people first.
“Corporate negligence and weak safety laws have resulted in tragedy for an astonishing and unacceptable number of working families,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Instead of working for stronger protections, too many Republican politicians in Washington, including the Trump administration, are trying to roll back commonsense regulations that enable workers to return home safely to their families. These are more than numbers; they are our brothers and sisters, and a reminder of the need to continue our fight for every worker to be safe on the job every day.”
The AFL-CIO’s 2017 report, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, marks the 26th year the AFL-CIO has reported on the state of safety and health protections for workers in the United States. The report shows the highest workplace fatality rates are in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska and West Virginia.
According to the report, Latino workers have an 18% higher fatality rate than the national average. Deaths among Latino workers increased to 903, compared with 804 in 2014. Overall, 943 immigrant workers were killed on the job in 2015—the highest number since 2007.
The report also finds that construction, transportation and agriculture remain among the most dangerous sectors. 937 construction workers were killed in 2015—the highest in any sector. Workplace violence continues to be a growing problem for workers, resulting in 703 deaths.