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NAT’L COSH RELEASES ANNUAL WORKERS’ MEMORIAL WEEK REPORT

For Workers’ Memorial Week 2015, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health has released Not An Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015.

This annual report provides details on and context for the yearly toll of worker fatalities in the U.S.

“54,000 deaths a year is way too many,” says National COSH Executive Director Mary Vogel. “We need tougher penalties. We need prosecutions for criminal violations. And we need to listen to workers, and use proven strategies that cut down on risk, reduce injuries and save lives.”

Key information from this year’s report:

  • 4,585 U.S. workers died on the job due to unsafe working conditions in 2013 according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
  • An estimated 50,000 workers die each year from long-term exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos, silica and benzene.
  • Hispanic workers continue to be at greater risk than other groups, showing a nine percent increase in sudden workplace fatalities between 2012 and 2013. During the same period, the incidence of fatalities decreased for African-American, Asian and white workers.
  • Proven prevention strategies are available for all the major categories which result in worker deaths, including transportation incidents, contacts with objects and equipment, falls to a lower level, workplace violence, exposure to harmful substances and environments and fires and explosions.

The report also presents case studies of seven workers who died on the job in 2014, from different industries and different parts of the country, with each case illustrating how workplace hazards can be reduced and lives saved if proper safety protocols are followed.

Workers’ Memorial Week is being observed this year from April 25 to May 2, with vigils, rallies, marches and other events to honor fallen workers and advocate for better safety protections. National COSH has compiled a comprehensive listing of over 80 events and also has resources for individuals or organizations who wish to plan their own event.

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