DEATH ON THE JOB – AFL/CIO RELEASES ITS 30TH ANNUAL REPORT
On May 4, 2021 the AFL/CIO released its 30th annual report about death on the job. The 250-page report included many major findings that should concern every working person.
Every day, 275 workers die from unsafe working conditions – over 100,000 workers per year – and the COVID pandemic has only made the situation worse. Meanwhile, OSHA has one inspector for every 83,000 workers, and its budget is less than $4 per worker. The average penalty for a “serious” violation of OSHA is under $4,000, and the maximum penalty for a fatal accident is $12,144.
Older workers and people of color are at significantly higher risk of workplace fatality – and workplace violence has risen to the third leading cause of death on the job.
New York law provides some remedies for work-related death. Depending on the circumstances, there may be a basis for a workers’ compensation claim, a wrongful death lawsuit, a Crime Victims Compensation claim or other benefits. While these remedies provide important financial relief to the workers’ survivors and dependents, it is clear that much more must be done to end the tragedy of work-related death.