According to a report coauthored by the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, 66 Massachusetts workers died last year while at work or because of illnesses they sustained while doing their jobs. Last year’s fatality figure is less than for 2008, when 80 Massachusetts workers died. Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health Executive Director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb says many of these fatalities could have been prevented if basic safety measures had been implemented rather than overlooked for profit.
Most Massachusetts worker deaths occurred in the construction industry. The 17 construction accident fatalities were a result of numerous causes, including fall accidents and machinery accidents. However, taxi drivers, firefighters, and fishermen were just some of the Massachusetts workers who died last year in work-related accidents.
Advocates are speaking out against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not doing enough to protect workers and inspect work sites. In 2008, OSHA fined Massachusetts companies about $9,939 for safety violations resulting in worker fatalities, which doesn’t give employers a lot of incentive to make sure that workers are kept safe. Work safety advocates also want more to be done to protect immigrant workers, who make up 24% of Massachusetts worker deaths, even though they only make up 17% of the state’s workforce.
Workers Memorial Day
Across the US, today is Workers Memorial Day, which is a day to remember workers that have died because they got injured or sick due to their jobs. Nationally, the AFL-CIO is reporting 5,657 worker fatalities in 2007 and over 4 million injuries or ailments-with 50,000 to 60,000 workers suffering from occupational diseases each year. It is important to note, however, that many work injuries and deaths may go unreported.
HR 2067, which has been introduced by US lawmakers, would implement tougher laws designed to protect workers and give them more rights when it comes to safety.
Also, fortunately, many workers who are injured or get sick on the job can avail of Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits.
66 died on job in Mass. last year, Boston.com, April 28, 2009
Workers Memorial Day 2009 Materials Ready Now, AFL-CIO
Related Web Resources:
2009 Workers Memorial Day Celebration, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
That said, the best way to make sure that you receive all of the benefits you and your family are owed by an employer is to speak with an experienced attorney at our Boston workers’ compensation law firm.