LANSING – A new report from the AFL-CIO shows that the state of Michigan had 162 workplace fatalities and 97,000 workplace-related injuries and illnesses in 2016. The report, titled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, compiles data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2016, the most recent year data is available. These figures rose from the previous year when 134 workers were killed and 96,000 injured in 2015. The new data was released in advance of Workers Memorial Day, which takes place on April 28 to commemorate workers who have died or suffered illness or injury on the job.
This year marks an especially urgent fight as the Trump administration continues to roll back and weaken protections and rights for working people. These actions have ranged from repealing, weakening or delaying standards on toxic chemicals and safety hazards like workplace violence, to cutbacks in enforcement, and efforts to eliminate key job safety research and training programs.
“Every American has the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Hardworking men and women putting in long hours deserve to know that they’re going to make it home at the end of the day,” said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber. “Yet, Michigan families are here mourning their loved ones. We’re here to fight for workplace safety for everyone.”
“Our leaders in government and business should be protecting working people’s lives above all else,” said Bieber. “It’s time for change. Working people deserve good, safe jobs now.”
Nationally, 5,190 American workers died on the job in 2016, an increase from 4,836 deaths the previous year. Another estimated 50,000 to 60,000 died from occupational diseases, meaning approximately 150 workers died on the job each day from preventable, hazardous workplace conditions. Overall, the national job fatality rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 workers from 3.4 in 2015.
Startlingly, the national figures show that workplace violence is now the second-leading cause of workplace death, accounting for 866 workplace deaths, including 500 homicides.
Other report highlights show that the construction, transportation and agriculture industries remain among the most dangerous. In 2016, 991 construction workers were killed—the highest total of any sector. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was the most dangerous industry sector per capita, with a fatality rate of 23.2 per 100,000 workers.
On Saturday, working people across Michigan will gather at Workers Memorial Day ceremonies to honor those who were hurt or killed on the job. Attendees will also speak out against recent actions taken by the Trump administration to roll back and block regulations that protect workers from serious hazards, like deadly silica dust, chemical explosions, and workplace violence, as well as cuts to the job safety budget.
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