Workers die in Connecticut

Thursday May 30, 2013

Although the statistics may be improving and workplace injuries might be stabilizing, too many careless fatalities among workers still mar the state of Connecticut.

The latest report by the AFL-CIO labor union ranks Connecticut as having the fourth lowest rate of worker fatalities in the country. Even the name of the report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” ensures that it does not gain the stature of a medal of achievement. 37 people died in workplace accidents in Connecticut during 2011. This arithmetic translates to 2.2 of every 100,000 workers.

Analysts suggest that the relative new low number of fatalities springs not wholly from safe practices but is owing instead to the recession’s overall decline in industrial and construction workers in harm’s way. AFL-CIO’s state president John Olsen disputes such a theory and commends his organization’s emphasis on safety.

Looking at the national perspective, the report shows that an astounding 4,693 workers were killed on the job in 2011. This averages 13 a day. What’s more, this figure does not include an estimated 50,000 people who die annually from occupational diseases.

At the top of the rankings was North Dakota which had the highest on-the-job fatality rate in the nation, with 12.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Other high death states included Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and Arkansas. Winners in the department of lowest worker death rates were: New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington.

One analyst argues that the number of workplace inspectors is inadequate, with Federal OSHA inspectors only able to inspect workplaces on average once every 131 years. What’s more, the report concluded criminal penalties are weak for those who violate health and safety regulations.

In the past four decades, only 84 prosecutions have gone forward in the United States related to workplace fatalities. While workers’ compensation insurance is intended to provide financial assistance to a worker who has been injured on the job, getting the deserved benefits can be a frustrating experience without help. It’s a good idea to rely on a workplace accident injury attorney to handle every aspect of claims and lawsuits.

Source:  The Day Connecticut, “Report shows state a safe place to work” Lee Howard, May. 10, 2013

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