MSNBC reported, an AFL-CIO analysis found that on an average day in 2011, 13 workers suffered fatal occupational injuries while 137 workers died from a work-related illness or disease. These figures have remained the same for the last three years after a period of decline that followed passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970.
According to the AFL-CIO report, Pennsylvania had the lowest fatality rate of all 50 states. North Dakota had the highest fatality rate, largely due to an oil boom. Overall, the fishing and logging industries have the highest fatality rates. Public sector jobs in fire safety and nursing have the highest rates of nonfatal injury and illness.
The report found that fatalities among Latino workers are 14 percent higher than among other workers. Of Latinos fatally injured in workplace accidents in 2011, 68 percent were born outside the United States.
The staggering number of deaths due to exposure in the workplace should be a concern for all workers and employers. Typically, when workplace injuries and deaths are discussed, the focus is on workplace accidents. However, the figures point to the high danger of exposure to toxic chemicals and substances. As many as 50,000 workers die every year from illnesses in which workplace exposures were a contributing factor, the AFL-CIO said.