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Thousands of U.S. workers die needlessly each year

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency that oversees the safety and inspection of workplaces across the country. While the agency has been instrumental in helping bring about positive changes related to improvements in workplace safety policies and regulations, both state and federal OSHA bureaus are significantly underfunded. As such, many workplaces around the country continue to operate despite glaring hazards and safety violations putting hundreds of thousands of workers at risk for being involved in workplace accidents. 

 

Newly released information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA show that more than 4,600 people died in workplace accidents during 2011 alone. This equates to roughly 13 people each day, a number which is troubling to many workplace safety advocates.

What's more, this statistic does not take into account those workers who ended up dying as a direct result of workplace-related illnesses. It's estimated that employees exposed to dangerous chemicals or materials who develop adverse health conditions equal roughly 50,000 per year or a staggering 137 deaths every day.

Worker advocacy and union groups around the country are urging members of the U.S. Congress to pass legislation known as the Protecting America's Workers Act. The passage of the Act would strengthen existing work safety laws by appropriating much-needed funding to help bolster the efforts of federal and state-run agencies.

In many cases, individuals impacted by a work-related injury or illness are unable to work and suffer permanent injuries and disabilities. Many workplace accidents, however, can be prevented through increased workplace safety training and enforcement efforts.

Source: MSNBC, "US work-related deaths top 150 a day, finds AFL-CIO report," Ned Resnikoff, May 8, 2013

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