Workplace accidents and fatalities are decreasing in Minnesota and across the United States, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO. However, the report also identifies areas where worksite safety needs to be improved.

Occupational fatalities in 2018

The AFL-CIO is the largest trade union federation in the nation. In a report published in October, the organization found that the number of fatal U.S. workplace injuries fell from 4.2 per 100,000 workers in 2006 to 3.5 per 100,000 workers in 2018. On the other hand, it also found that fatalities among Latino workers was higher than the national average with the demographic suffering 3.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.

The report determined that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have enough federal and state inspectors to guarantee the safety of U.S. worksites. In 2019, the agency employed just 1,767 inspectors to oversee a workforce of 147 million people. That means that there is only one inspector for every 83,207 workers. According to the International Labor Organization, OSHA should employ at least 14,703 inspectors to oversee America’s worksites. At current staffing levels, it would take inspectors 323 years to certify the safety of all the work environments in Arkansas alone.

Workers’ compensation

Employees who suffer on-the-job injuries should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through their employer’s insurance. Some people find it helpful to consult with an attorney before filing their claim. Legal counsel may ensure workers understand all the benefits they are entitled to and help them properly prepare their applications. If a worker has already had a claim denied, an attorney might be able to file an appeal on his or her behalf.