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New Report Shows 26 Connecticut Workers Were Killed On The Job in 2019

David C. Dal Zin
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(ROCKY HILL, May 5, 2021) – According to a new report released yesterday by the AFL-CIO, 26 Connecticut workers were killed on the job in 2019. This analysis, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that there were 1.4 deaths due to on-the-job injuries per hundred thousand workers in Connecticut in 2019. Compared to all other states, Connecticut had the lowest rate of worker deaths in the country. But this was before the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that has been responsible for far too many worker infections and deaths in our state and our nation.

Nationally in 2019, 5,333 working people were killed on the job and an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases. Each and every day, on average, 275 U.S. workers die from hazardous working conditions. The overall rate of fatal job injuries in 2019 was 3.5 per 100,000.

“This year’s report is yet another reminder of the dangers facing working people in Connecticut every single day,” said Sal Luciano, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. “Even though we ranked as having the lowest rate of workers killed on the job, even one is too many. No one should die simply because they went to work.”

Connecticut saw a higher than average number of workers get sick or injured on the job – over 35,000 workers in 2019. That’s a rate 3.1 workers per 100,000 compared to the national average of 2.8.

“Now with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to protect working people,” said Luciano. “Connecticut’s working people deserve better. We have a right to a safe workplace and a voice on the job. What’s more, we deserve leaders in Hartford and Washington who will stand up for those rights. It’s time for change, and working people are joining together to secure the economic rights and dignity that we’ve earned.”

The report, titled “Death on the Job. The Toll of Neglect” marks the 30th year the AFL-CIO has produced its findings on the state of safety and health protections for workers within the United States.

One of the most disturbing statistics is the increase in the death rate for workers of color. The fatality rate for Latino workers increased 14% from 2018 and is the highest rate since 2008. In 2019, there were 1,088 Latino worker deaths, compared with 961 Latino worker deaths in 2018. The majority (66%) of Latino workers who died on the job in 2019 were immigrants. Black workers are also at an increased risk of work-related deaths. In 2019, 634 Black workers died – the highest number in more than two decades.

Another alarming trend is growing workplace violence. It is the third-leading cause of workplace death. In 2019, deaths increased to 841, while more than 30,000 violence-related lost-time injuries were reported.

Older workers have a higher risk of dying on the job. More than one-third of workplace fatalities occurred among workers 55 and older. And workers 65 or older have nearly three times the risk of dying on the job as other workers.

“This year, we commemorate 50 years of OSHA and the lives saved by ensuring workers are protected on the job,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “COVID-19 has been a stark reminder that workplace safety protections are absolutely critical, and we still have a long way to go. As a country, we must renew our commitment to safe jobs for all workers and invest the resources to make that happen.”

Fifty years ago, on April 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job. The law was won in 1970 because of the tireless efforts of the labor movement and allies, who drew major attention to work-related deaths, disease and injuries, organized for safer working conditions and demanded action from their government.

But today, due in part to the irresponsible anti-workers policies of the previous administration, OSHA’s meager resources have kept declining. Federal OSHA now has only 774 safety and health inspectors and state OSHA plans have a combined 1,024 inspectors – near the lowest total number of OSHA inspectors since the creation of the agency. This is equivalent to one inspector for every 82,881 workers.

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Click here for the AFL-CIO’s “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, 2021” report.

Click here for key findings and infographics from the report.

Click here for a state-by-state breakdown of the report.