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Work-Related Injuries Caused One Death Every 111 Minutes in 2020

Shot of a Warehouse Worker Has Work Related Accident. He is Falling Down BeforeTrying to Pick Up Heavy Cardboard Box from the Shelf. Hard Injury at Work.
Boxes falling on warehouse employee. | Image from gorodenkoff

A report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2020 shows, on average, 13 people died due to work-related injuries every day in the United States. Last year, 4,764 died from fatal work injuries. That is an average of one death every 111 minutes.

The report does not track work-related illnesses, nor does its statistics reflect deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The transportation and material-moving industries experienced the highest number of fatal work injuries, with 1,778 of those workers killed in accidents last year. There were 1,008 fatal injuries in the construction field.

The share of Hispanic or Latino workers fatally injured on the job grew from 20.4% in 2019 to 22.5% in 2020, accounting for 1,072 workplace fatalities last year.

Black or African American workers had a 14.7% decrease in workplace fatalities in 2020, with a total of 541.

The report also stated that “Women made up 8.1% of all fatalities but represented 16.3% of workplace homicides in 2020.”

Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of U.S. unions, said, “We need a more targeted approach to address significant disparities in who has access to a safe job and who is treated with dignity and respect at work. Safe jobs are a fundamental right for every worker.”

2020 saw the lowest number of work-related deaths since 2013. Schuler attributes the drop to the COVID-19 pandemic, positing “fewer people were in direct contact with preventable hazards, production priorities shifted, and businesses were forced to do more prevention planning.”

Union organizations can advocate for workers to have safer working conditions and save their lives, says Schuler. “We are working with the Biden administration to hold employers accountable and to rebuild our workplace safety agencies to strengthen job safety protections and enforcement. Working people are standing united to ensure workplace hazards are addressed and that workers can speak up without retaliation.”

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