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May 6, 2014

Report: 50,000+ Preventable Workplace Deaths Every Year in U.S.

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The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) publishes an annual report on Preventable Deaths in conjunction with Workers’ Memorial Week during the last week of April. Preventable Deaths 2014 identifies unsafe conditions that take the lives of American workers, including: 
  • At least 4,383 deaths from sudden traumatic injuries in 2012 - a preliminary figure that is likely to increase when final data is released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  • Tens of thousands of workers who die each year from long-term occupational illnesses. One estimate puts the toll at 53,000 deaths annually - costing the U.S. economy $45.5 billion a year. 
The report also identifies proven approaches to prevention for each of the six major causes of occupational fatalities identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: transportation incidents; contacts with objects and equipment; falls to a lower level; workplace violence; exposure to harmful substances and environments; and fires and explosions.

This year’s report includes: 
  • Death on the job: How big is the problem? surveys the range of illnesses and injuries that take the lives of American workers. It highlights the high rates of fatalities faced by particular vulnerable populations, including immigrant, Latino, temporary and young workers. 
  • Case studies of seven workers who lost their lives in U.S. workplaces in 2013 and 2014. These tragic deaths, which occurred on a farm, a factory, a film set, a hospital and other workplaces, illustrate the range of hazards that confront American workers. 
  • Silica Dust: A silent killer affecting millions, including the most vulnerable workers in America. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that 688 lives can be saved every year by reducing workplace exposure to silica dust. 
  • Recommendations by National COSH to reduce workplace hazards, including specific actions to be taken by employers, OSHA and Congress.
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