Roughly 150 Americans die on a daily basis as a result of their jobs, a new study from the AFL-CIO has discovered.
In addition to the 50,000 workers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates die a year from work-related disease, the union found that about 4,700 workers were killed on the job in 2011. Those numbers combined produce the 150 deaths per day tally.
Last month, an op-ed in The Washington Post reported that Americans are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than a terrorist attack.
Additionally, the government estimates about 3.8 million Americans suffer work-related injuries and diseases each year. Experts cited by the AFL-CIO estimate that underreporting may put that number closer to 11 million.
The recent industrial disasters in West, Texas, and across the globe in Bangladesh have brought the issue of workplace safety into sharp focus. The fertilizer plant explosion in Texas killed 15 and injured hundreds, while the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh last month claimed the lives of more than 700.
In the case of the West plant explosion, regulators missed potential hazards in the lead-up to the blast, indicating that both the government and the company could have done more to protect workers.
The AFL-CIO report noted that the agency charged with monitoring workplace safety in the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is chronically understaffed. At current staffing levels, OSHA could check the country’s 8 million workplaces once every 113 years, according to the report.