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Don’t Become Numb to Workplace Deaths and Illnesses

Safety & Health Magazine
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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka cautioned the public not to become “numb” to workplace fatalities and illnesses, as his organization released its annual report detailing the hazards workers face every day.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect was published April 25 during Workers’ Memorial Week (April 22-29), which honors workers who have lost their lives on the job, and ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day (April 28). The report features state and federal data on worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses, as well as on worker protections.

In 2017, the number of worker deaths decreased to 5,147 from 5,190 in 2016, but was still higher than the 4,836 reported in 2015. Another 95,000 or so die each year because of on-the-job illnesses, the report states, which means that, in 2017, about 275 people died from work-related causes each day.

“This is a national crisis,” Trumka said during a news conference, “and it’s well past the time that folks in Washington, D.C., stop playing politics and take action to prevent these tragedies.”

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