Workplace accidents take a terrible toll every day in the U.S. To be sure, some jobs are more dangerous than others. But overall, the cumulative number of deaths and injuries is startling.
Nationally, the number of people who suffer a workplace injury or illness adds up to over 10,000 a day.
The cumulative figures on deaths are, if anything, even more startling. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 people a day are killed on the job somewhere in the U.S.
Another 137 people succumb to occupational diseases, such as mesothelioma.
Agriculture has the highest fatality rate of any industry. Transportation and warehouse work also rank in the top ten.
It’s true that the fatality rate has gone down somewhat compared to a few decades ago. Since Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers has declined from 18 to 3.6.
Compared to the rest of the developed world, however, the U.S. fatality rate remains high. Many industrialized countries have much lower workplace fatality rates. These include Australia, Canada, France and Germany, among others.
At least in part, the reason for this disparity is quite simply a lack of resources devoted to workplace safety. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and its state-level counterparts have only a little more than 2,000 inspectors to monitor 8 million workplaces across the country.
Put another way, the U.S. lags most other industrialized countries in the ratio of inspectors to workers. In the U.S., there is only one inspector for every 58,687 workers, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO standard is one for every 10,000.
Source: “13 Workers a Day Die on the Job . . .Not Including Work-Related Diseases,” AllGov, 5-8-12