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Workplace deaths, illnesses the subject of AFL-CIO report

Workers in Connecticut may know that April 22 to 29, 2019, was Workers' Memorial Week. During that week, the AFL-CIO released a report on workplace injuries, fatalities and illnesses, saying that companies need to be more aware of the hazards faced every day by workers. The National Safety Council, recognizing the same dangers, has even asked Americans to go online and take its Safe at Work Pledge.

In the report, titled "Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect," the AFL-CIO states that though on-the-job fatalities have gone down from 5,190 in 2016 to 5,147 in 2017, this is still higher than the 4,836 deaths that arose in 2015. Of those 5,147, 2,077 were the result of transportation incidents, making this the leading cause of deaths. Other leading causes of death were slips, trips and falls (causing 887 deaths) and workplace violence (807).

Work-related illnesses and diseases take an average of 95,000 lives every year in the U.S. This comes to a startling 275 worker deaths each day. Heat stress is one illness that has caused hundreds of deaths: 815 between 1992 and 2017, not to mention over 70,000 cases of injury. Yet many companies continue to ignore safe practices. Some companies have been called out on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's "Dirty Dozen" report.

When employees are injured and yet employers are not necessarily to blame, then the former may be able to file for benefits under workers' compensation law. Most employers in this state are required to hold workers' comp insurance, and this insurance pays out for victims' medical bills and for a percentage of the income they lose. It may also cover short- or long-term disability leave, if applicable. Victims may want a lawyer to assist them, especially if an appeal becomes necessary.

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