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Union report highlights dangers workers face

Oklahoma residents may be interested to know that 150 American workers die each day from preventable work-related injuries and illnesses. This was according to a report released by the AFL-CIO. This translates to 4,836 workers who died from workplace injuries while another 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases. Furthermore, the number of immigrant workers who died on the job was at its highest levels in almost a decade. In 2015, 943 immigrant workers were killed, which was the most since 2007.

The union cited both negligence on behalf of corporations as well as safety laws that they considered to be weak. It also warned that the Trump administration could threaten worker safety gains made when Barack Obama was in the White House. A representative from the AFL-CIO said that the people who are impacted by possible safety rollbacks are more than numbers. Therefore, the issue of worker safety needs to be a top priority at all times.

It is estimated that the cost of workplace injuries and illnesses is as high as $360 billion each year. Compared to the national average, Latino workers have an 18 percent higher workplace fatality rate. In 2015, 903 such workers were killed compared to 804 in 2014. North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana are among the states with the highest workplace fatality rate.

Those who suffer a workplace injury may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits may allow an injured worker to have medical expenses related to the injury covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance policy. In some cases, benefits may be extended on a permanent basis depending on the severity of the injuries. An attorney may be helpful in compelling payment in the event that a claim is denied or not fully covered in accordance with the law.

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