December 2020 Safety and Health Magazine highlighted the impact COVID-19 had on workplace safety. The article features state and federal data on worker fatalities, inju-ries and illnesses affected by the pandemic. Approximately 17 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and around 308,000 have died from the virus.
Rachel Reindel, AFL-CIO Director of Occupational Safety and Health states “The pan-demic has only emphasized what we already know. Workplaces are a major source of COVID outbreaks of our families and our communities. So, preventing workplace expo-sures is key to stopping the spread of the virus.”
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 5,250 workers died on the job. Another estimated 95,000 people died as a result of occupational diseases that same year. In all 275 workers died each day.
Other important 2018 statistics to note:
1. Workplace violence was the second leading cause of occupational fatalities, total-ing 828 deaths.
2. Deaths among Black workers increased to 615 from 530 in 2017.
3. Deaths among Latino workers increased to 961 from 903 in 2017.
4. A third of all fatalities involved workers 55 and older.
5. States with the highest fatality rates per 100,000 workers were Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia.
6. Federal OSHA had 746 inspectors, the lowest number since the 1970’s.
7. The cost of workplace injuries and illnesses is estimated to be 250–330 billion an-nually.
These numbers are too high and many workers are at risk! Site Safety vows to change these numbers with programs, trainings, and safety professionals.