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By the numbers …

May 9, 2013

The AFL-CIO released its annual Death on the Job report (.pdf file) on May 7. Here’s a look at some of the numbers from the report.

Deaths and injuries in 2011:

  • 4,693 workers were killed on the job.
  • An estimated 50,000 workers died from occupational diseases.
  • Between 7.6 million and 11.4 million workplace injuries and illnesses are believed to have occurred.

Daily figures from 2011:

  • An average of 13 workers were killed on the job.
  • About 137 died from occupational diseases.
  • 10,431 workers were injured or became ill.


  • The annual cost of workplace injuries and illnesses is between $250 billion and $300 billion.
  • The most disabling workplace injuries cost employers $51.1 billion in direct costs in 2010.
  • Businesses pay between $150 and $300 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.

OSHA penalties in fiscal year 2012:

  • The average penalty for a serious violation was $2,156 for federal OSHA and $974 for State Plan states.
  • In worker fatality cases, the median initial total penalty was $6,625 (federal) and $4,900 (state).
  • After settlement, the median total penalty for fatality cases was $5,175 (federal) and $4,200 (state).

On OSHA inspectors:

  • One federal or state OSHA inspector exists for every 66,776 workers.
  • It would take federal OSHA 131 years to inspect all workplaces under its jurisdiction.
  • Federal OSHA conducted 40,950 inspections in FY 2012, 325 more than the previous year.
  • State Plan states conducted 51,281 inspections in FY 2012, 1,033 fewer than the previous year.

Recent rulemaking delays and their consequences:

Cranes and Derricks in Construction:

  • 8 years to complete
  • 22 lives lost each year of the delay
  • 176 lives lost during entire rulemaking period

Hexavalent Chromium:

  • 13 years to complete
  • 40-145 lives lost each year of the delay
  • 520-1,885 lives lost during entire rulemaking period


  • More than 15 years (rule not yet finalized)
  • 60 lives lost each year of the delay
  • 900 lives lost so far during entire rulemaking period

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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