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AFL-CIO Sees ‘No Progress’ Protecting Workers From Serious Injuries

November 18, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual job injury and illness report “shows noThe AFL-CIO's coveted presidential endorsement is still in question. overall progress protecting workers from serious injuries and illnesses on the job, and that workplace violence is getting worse,” AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Peg Seminario said Nov. 14. The 2.8 million work-related injuries reported were not significantly changed from 2016, she noted, but “serious injuries from workplace violence increased significantly, accounting for nearly 29,000 injuries with days away from work in 2017.” More than two-thirds of the victims are health-care and social-assistance workers, particularly registered nurses, nursing assistants, psychiatric aides, and personal-care aides. Violence is now the second-leading cause of death on the job after construction accidents. The AFL-CIO and unions in those fields petitioned the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop workplace-violence standards in 2016, the federation said, but “under the Trump administration all progress has stalled, and enforcement on workplace violence has declined significantly.” The AFL-CIO also estimates that due to underreporting, the actual number of workplace injuries and illnesses is likely more than twice the number cited by the BLS. It urged the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to strengthen standards and fund enforcement. Read more

November 18, 2018

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