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Report: Workplace fatalities on the rise in the United States

According to a new report by the AFI-CIO, the workplace fatalities are on the rise in the United States. The report indicated that an average of 13 people are now killed on the job, which is a slight increase from three years ago. The AFI-CIO based its findings on data provided by the Labor Department.

The data shows that 4,693 people were killed on the job in 2011. This was a slight increase from the 4,690 fatalities that were reported in 2010, but still a large drop from the 5,840 deaths that were reported in 2006. The report indicated that fatal workplace accidents are often ignored by the media; however, they leave a devastating effect on the families who lose loved ones.

The report also indicated that Texas leads the nation in workplace deaths, with more than 400 deaths occurring on the job each year since 1995. However, the number of workplace fatalities actually slightly declined between 2010 and 2011, from 461 worker deaths reported in 2010 to 433 reported the following year.

Even with the small decline in workplace deaths, Texas still has an extremely high fatality rate compared to other states. In fact, the report showed that it took combining 15 smaller states to account for 426 workplace deaths in 2011. California is the state with the second-highest workplace fatality rate with 390 deaths reported in 2011.

North Dakota, another state with a booming oil and gas industry, had 12.4 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2011, which was the most fatalities per capita in the United States.

The report also brought to attention the important issue of workplace-acquired diseases in illness. It said that a surprising 50,000 workers die each year as a result of occupational diseases. The AFI-CIO called on the government to impose stricter workplace safety regulations to better protect workers.

When workers are injured or killed on the job, or suffer occupational illnesses years down the road, they may be entitled to compensation from their employers. Damage awards can include compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages or loss of earning capacity. The families of workers who were killed may also be entitled to survivors' benefits.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Number of workplace deaths rising in the U.S.," Dan X. McGraw, May 8, 2013

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