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Kansas is 10th most dangerous state to work, according to report

5/9/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

TOPEKA -- According to a new report released by the AFL-CIO, Kansas had one of the worst workplace safety records of all states in 2012. This analysis, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that 88 Kansas workers lost their lives due to on-the-job injuries.

"Today's revelations are a reminder of the dangers Kansans go through every day, and should serve as a call-to-action to take immediate and drastic steps to improve workplace safety," said Bruce Tunnell, Kansas AFL-CIO Executive Vice President. "This report should be a wake-up call to our elected leaders - we're counting on them to work every day to ensure that our workers can do so without the fear of dying on the job. Already tragedy has taken too many lives and hurt too many families."

The report, titled "Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect," marks the 23rd year the AFL-CIO has produced its findings on the state of safety and health protections for workers in the United States. The state fatality rate in Kansas is 5.7 per 100,000 workers, which compares to the national rate of 3.4 per 100,000 workers.

North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and West Virginia, were the top-five worst states in the nation for workers, while Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire (tied) and Washington (tied) were listed as the safest.

"A hard day's work should not be a death sentence," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "It is unacceptable and unconscionable that any worker would have to make a choice between their life or paying their bills and putting food on the table. Every vote to weaken worker protections or defund critical programs, and every action by a big corporation to marginalize and de-emphasize worker safety is an affront to all who have died while simply fighting to attain the American Dream."

The report's disturbing numbers come in the wake of further statistics showing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration remains underfunded, understaffed, and unable to levy penalties strong enough to deter workplace safety violations. At current levels, it would take federal and state OSHA inspectors an average of 105 years to inspect every workplace within the United States at least once, with inspectors needing 110 years to inspect workplaces within Kansas.