An average of 275 workers died each day in the United States in 2018, including 5,250 on-the-job and another 95,000 as the result of occupational diseases, according to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational diseases are any disease contracted primarily as a result of exposure to risk factors arising from work activity, like COVID-19. However, the data from 2018 predates the coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, there were about 3.5 million work-related injuries and illnesses reported, though due to rampant underreporting, that number is likely two to three times higher, according to the 29th annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
Transportation incidents were the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities, followed by workplace violence. Deaths among Black workers and Latinos increased in 2018 over 2017, as well. The states with the highest fatality rates were Wyoming (11.5 per 100,000 workers), Alaska (9.9), North Dakota (9.6), West Virginia (7.9) and South Dakota (6.9).
Despite much progress in protecting workers in the nearly 50 years since the passage of the nation’s job safety laws, the number of worker injuries, illnesses, and deaths remains too high, the AFL-CIO said in the report’s Executive Summary.
“The Trump administration launched a major assault on regulatory protections. It has moved aggressively to roll back regulations, block new protections, and put agency budgets and programs on the chopping block,” the AFL-CIO reported. “The national failure of leadership and action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic was exacerbated by weakened regulatory structures and political inactivity on protecting workers.”
Workplace injury lawyers
Beasley Allen handles a variety of cases related to workplace safety. While all workers should be guaranteed a safe working environment, all too often we handle cases of serious injuries and deaths resulting from a hazardous work environment. Many times our investigation reveals defective or dangerous machinery was involved, or employers failed to provide adequate protections or ignored safety regulations. If you need more information, contact Kendall Dunson or Evan Allen, lawyers in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section who handle workplace litigation for our firm.