5,190 workers in the United States died on the job in 2016, according to a report published by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), an increase of 354 from the year before.
The report, titled “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” also stated that between 50,000 and 60,000 workers were killed because of occupational diseases in 2016 alone – this means that approximately 150 workers were killed because of hazardous and preventable workplace conditions every single day in 2016.
“We deserve to walk out the front door in the morning knowing we’ll return home safe and healthy after a full day’s work,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA). “It’s a travesty that working people continue to lose their lives to corporate greed. The selfish and reckless decisions being made in boardrooms and in Washington are killing the very people who built this country. This is officially a national crisis, and it’s only getting worse.”
This is the 27th year that the AFL-CIO published its findings on the state of health and safety protections for workers in the country. One of the more surprising revelations in the report was that workplace violence is now the number two cause of death in the workplace – 866 people were killed because of violent actions, including 500 homicides. Despite these findings, as well as the overall increase in workplace fatalities, the Trump administration has sidelined an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposal to institute a new workplace violence standard.
OSHA is in desperate need of additional resources across the board, yet the current presidential administration continues to propose significant cuts to health and worker safety training as part of its intense deregulatory agenda. Some areas currently being considered for cuts include the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) coal dust rule, despite the fact that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns that it is seeing the biggest cluster of black lung among coal miners in years.