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32 Workers Died on the Job in Massachusetts in 2012

April 25, 2013
The number of Massachusetts workers who died on the job may have declined in 2012, but the latest “Dying for Work in Massachusetts” report asserts that more remains to be done to protect workers from preventable occupational deaths, illnesses and injuries.
The 2013 “Dying for Work in Massachusetts” report reveals that 32 Massachusetts workers suffered fatal injuries on the job in 2012, and an estimated 320 died of occupational illnesses. The 32 fatalities reflect a decrease from the 58 fatalities in the commonwealth in 2011 and the 47 fatalities in 2010; overall, however, occupational fatalities in Massachusetts have fluctuated over the last 25 years.

The report, “Dying for Work in Massachusetts: The Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts,” is developed by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), and Western MassCOSH.

Key findings include:

  • The average age of death was 50 years old.
  • Seven firefighters perished in the line of duty in 2012.
  • Falls of all types accounted for six fatalities.
  • The construction industry was one of the most fatal for workers in Massachusetts, with a total of six fatalities occurring in 2012.
  • Transportation accounted for five fatalities.
  • One police officer died in 2012 as the result of workplace violence.

The report points to OSHA’s lack of resources as a contributor to these occupational fatalities.

“OSHA lacks funding, staff and tools to deter violation,” the report states. “Fatal and serious workplace injuries in 2012 continue to occur because Massachusetts employers ignored OSHA regulations and failed to institute basic safety measures. Strong government regulations and enforcement – including criminal prosecution – is essential but often lacking.”

According to the report, it would currently take 140 years for OSHA to inspect each place of employment under its jurisdiction in Massachusetts.

The “Dying for Work in Massachusetts” report is released each year in conjunction with Workers’ Memorial Day to call attention to preventable deaths due to workplace injuries and illness and to call for political action to put an end to these fatalities. View or download the report here.

“April 28, 2013 marks the 25th observance of Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember workers who were killed, made ill or injured on their jobs,” the report states. “We reflect on the tragedies of the past and renew our commitment to fight for safe jobs.”

At noon on Thursday, April 25, a ceremony in Boston honored the Massachusetts workers who lost their lives or became injured or ill on the job. The ceremony featured a reading of the deceased workers’ names and speakers to include safety experts, state officials, labor leaders and family members.

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