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Hazardous working conditions cause 150 deaths daily

Texas workers may be dismayed to learn that about 150 employees lose their lives daily because of a preventable occupational injury or illness, according to a report compiled by the AFL-CIO. However, the report also noted that since the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was passed, the lives of roughly 553,000 employees have been saved.

In its report, the labor union said that 50,000 to 60,000 employees lost their lives because of a work-related disease in 2015, and nearly 5,000 employee fatalities occurred because of on-the-job injuries in that year. In regards to immigrant workers, the amount who suffered a fatal workplace injury or illness was the highest within about a decade. The AFL-CIO report states that weak safety laws and corporate negligence are to blame for the workplace tragedies.

The report estimated that the annual cost of occupational illnesses and injuries reaches up to $360 billion, and the states where the highest number of occupation fatality rates were West Virginia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Compared with the national average, the workers with the highest fatality rate was Latinos. In fact, their fatality rate was almost 20 percent higher than the national average. In 2015, 903 Latino employees suffered a workplace death, which was about 100 more than the previous year.

Agriculture, transportation and construction were the most hazardous occupations, and among these, the construction industry had the highest amount of deaths. According to the report, in excess of 930 construction workers died on the job in 2015. Additionally, workplace violence accounted for 703 occupational deaths during 2015.

Workplace injuries not only result in heavy financial losses to employers, but they can also cause employees to lose wages and acquire huge medical expenses as they try to recover. People who have been injured on the job may want to have a lawyer's assistance in seeking workers' compensation benefits that can help defray these losses.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Unions Remind U.S.: 150 Workers Die Every Day from Job Injuries, Illnesses", April 28, 2017

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