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AFL-CIO, NSC draw attention to workplace deaths, illness

There were 5,147 workplace fatalities in 2017, according to the AFL-CIO. In its report entitled, "Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect," the labor union federation is calling for more awareness of the hazards faced by workers and for the implementation of safer practices. New Hampshire residents should know that this report was released as a part of Workers' Memorial Week, which took place from April 22 to 29, 2019.

The three leading causes of workplace fatalities were transportation incidents(killed 2,077 workers in 2017); slips, trips and falls (killed 887 that year); and workplace violence (killed 807). In the private industry, workplace violence was to blame for some 29,000 injuries resulting in lost time from work.

Every year, around 95,000 people die from occupational illnesses, which means that 2017 saw an average of 275 illness-related worker deaths each day. The AFL-CIO has called this a national crisis. Thousands more are injured. Heat stress, for example, has injured over 70,000 workers between 1992 and 2017 and led to 815 deaths.

The National Safety Council is doing its part to advocate greater workplace safety, encouraging all Americans to take its online Safe at Work Pledge. According to the NSC, the number of preventable work-related deaths has gone up by 18% since 2009.

Even when employers do all they can to promote safety, accidents can happen. In most cases, though, employers will be facing a workers' compensation claim rather than a personal injury claim. Workers' comp benefits pay for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, and any injured worker is eligible. At the same time, employers have the right to deny payment, so victims who intend to file for workers' comp may want a lawyer by their side. If an appeal must be mounted, the lawyer might assist.

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