Tomorrow is Workers Memorial Day — the day every year that is dedicated, in labor organizer Mother Jones’ words to “Mourn for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living.”
Workers Memorial Day also marks the release of the AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report that details the current state of safety and health protections state for America’s workers. This is the 31st edition of the report and nowhere else can you find everything you ever needed to know about workplace safety and health than in this report.
The report observes that although the Biden administration is making slow but steady progress recovering from Trump’s attacks on longstanding workplace safety protections and attempt to dismantle the systems for future protections, Republicans and the business community continues to oppose any budget increases or additional regulatory protections for workers.
So what is the state of safety and health protections in 2022?
The good news is that “More than 647,000 workers now can say their lives have been saved since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act Act 51 years ago.
The Bad News
The bad news is that:
Workplace hazards kill and disable approximately 125,000 workers each year—4,764 from traumatic injuries, and an estimated 120,000 from occupational diseases. Job injury and illness numbers continue to be severe undercounts of the real problem.
Looking for more bad news?
- OSHA resources in FY 2021 still are too few to be a deterrent:
- There are only 1,719 inspectors (755 federal and 964 state) to inspect the 10.4 million workplaces under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s jurisdiction.
- The number of OSHA inspectors is near its lowest number since the agency opened more than 50 years ago.
- There is one inspector for every 81,427 workers.
- The current OSHA budget amounts to $4.37 to protect each worker.
- The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $176 billion to $352 billion a year.
Furthermore, OSHA’s continues to be under furious attack
The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $176 billion to $352 billion a year.
The report is not just a litany of workplace mayhem, but also a detailed, data-rich account of every aspect of workplace safety in the United States. And it is particularly useful for local activists, with the detailed information and data is broken down by state.
Wondering how Kansas ranks among the 50 states in workplace deaths in 2020? (31st, with 55 fatalities.)
Are you struggling with a Trivia Night question about the average total OSHA penalty per fatality investigation in New Jersey? Well the answer is here: $22,270, which compares to a national average of $11,626.
Despite the enormous amount of work that went into it, you can download here, free of charge.
Brought to you by the folks who gave us the weekend.
More AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day materials can be found here.
OSHA will also hold a virtual Workers Memorial Day even Thursday. More information on that here.