AFL Report on Steady Rise of Worker Fatalities

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has released its annual report detailing the hazards that workers face every day on the job.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect was published April 26 during Workers’ Memorial Week (April 23-30), which honors workers who have lost their lives on the job. The report features state and federal data on worker fatalities, injuries, and illnesses, as well as on worker protections.

Worker deaths rose to 5,190 in 2016 from 4,836 in 2015, and the national fatality rate climbed to 3.6 per 100,000 workers from 3.4, according to the report. In addition, the AFL-CIO estimates that occupational diseases accounted for up to an additional 60,000 deaths, resulting in 150 work-related deaths a day.

The 2018 edition of “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” marks the 27th year the AFL-CIO has produced a report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers.

The report features state and national information on workplace fatalities, injuries, illnesses, the number and frequency of workplace inspections, penalties, funding, staffing and public employee coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It also includes information on the state of mine safety and health.

Some of the highlights in the report include:

  • Workplace violence was the second-leading cause of death on the job – behind transportation-related incidents – rising to 866 in 2016 from 703 in 2015, including 500 homicides;
  • The construction sector experienced the most fatalities, followed by transportation and warehousing; and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting;
  • The fatality rate was highest in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, followed by transportation and warehousing; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; and construction; and
  • States with the highest fatality rates were Wyoming (12.3 per 100,000 workers), Alaska (10.6), Montana (7.9), South Dakota (7.5) and North Dakota (7.0).