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AFL-CIO report expresses concern for worker safety

An AFL-CIO report has found that 150 workers died daily in 2015 from work-related injuries or illnesses that were preventable. In all, 4,836 workers died from injuries while between 50,000 and 60,000 died from disease related to their job. Furthermore, workers in Minneapolis and throughout the country are less safe under the Trump administration than they were during the Obama administration, according to the report. The AFL-CIO president said that while the Obama administration had strengthened many enforcement policies and improved workers' rights, those same safety initiatives were now under threat. The report estimated that since the Occupational Safety and Health Act passed in 1970, the lives of more than 550,000 workers have been saved.

Latino workers appear to be particularly vulnerable with a fatality rate that is almost 20 percent higher than the national average. The states with the highest rates of worker fatalities overal in 2015l were Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Nebraska, Montana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Wyoming and North Dakota.

Agriculture, transportation and construction were among the most dangerous industries with construction workers having the highest fatality rate in 2015. Workers who are at or older than 65 are 2.5 times more likely to be killed in the workplace. More than 700 people died in incidents of workplace violence.

Employees who suffer workplace injuries or illnesses may be eligible for workers' compensation. Obtaining workers' compensation can be critical whether the employee is temporarily off work or permanently disabled. However, an injured worker might face resistance from an employer regarding filing for workers' compensation or even retaliation for doing so. This retaliation is not permitted, and people who are dealing with retaliation or who are told they do not have the right to compensation may want to discuss their rights with an attorney.

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