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Work accident statistics cited at Workers Memorial Day event

Recently, union supporters gathered along with various lawmakers in honor of Workers Memorial Day. They met at the Wisconsin state Capitol in order to call for increased worker safety in the state. Workplace safety is an important issue, as recent work accident statistics for the nation showed that there were 4,600 work-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2011. In Wisconsin alone, 89 workers lost their lives that same year, with an additional 74,400 employees being injured while on the job.

An official with the Wisconsin Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (WISCOSH) pointed out that these statistics could be vastly under what they should be. All too often, companies choose not to report injuries when they occur in the workplace. Further, some employees feel pressured not to report their own injuries due to fear that they will face some sort of reprisal from their employers.

The man who formerly served as the president of Wisconsin AFL-CIO reported that the national agency in charge of workplace safety, known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), simply doesn't have the funding to adequately oversee its responsibilities. Lawmakers and union supporters at the Workers Memorial Day event want to see increased funding and support for OSHA to be able to more vigorously promote worker safety. They are also hoping to see greater protection for those known as 'whistleblowers' and making employers take more responsibility in the event of work injuries and deaths.

Those Wisconsin residents who have ever suffered a work accident firsthand know just how devastating this can be emotionally, physically and financially. However, there is hope for workers who have been injured while performing their normal duties. These workers can often file for workers' compensation benefits to have their medical bills covered, along with recouping some or all of their lost wages while they are unable to work due to a work injury.

Source: Wisconsin Radio Network, "Call to increase workplace safety," Brian Moon, April 29, 2013

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