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Report releases figures for workplace fatalities in 2015

Pennsylvania workers may have fewer protections in the years ahead according to the AFL-CIO. The union president says that the Trump administration is trying to roll back many of the policies from the Obama years. During the Obama administration, a report released by the union says, protections against retaliation and important health and safety standards were strengthened. However, the goals of the current administration are focused on deregulation.

The report said that there were an average of 150 preventable deaths each day in 2015 from work-related accidents or illnesses. More than 4,800 workers died from injuries, and up to 60,000 died from work-related illnesses. Latino workers and workers 65 and over were the most likely to die on the job, and workers in construction, agriculture and transportation were the most vulnerable. There were 903 deaths among Latino workers and a total of 943 immigrant deaths on the job. Older workers were 2.5 times more likely to die in the workplace, and construction workers had the highest fatality number with 930 workers killed. Workplace violence, an increasing problem, claimed more than 700 lives.

Since the 1970 passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the report says, over 553,000 lives have been saved. The report estimated the cost of job-related illness and injury at roughly $250 to $360 billion annually.

An accident can be costly for workers who may be unable to return to their job temporarily or permanently and may face serious medical expenses. Workers' compensation can help an employee with the financial hardship. An injured employee might want to consult an attorney about the process of applying for compensation. In some cases, the worker may need additional documentation to prove the link between an injury or illness and the workplace if the condition is one that develops over time.

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