Economic Snapshot | Unions and Labor Standards

Workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. $250 billion annually

On average, there are 23,000 on-the-job injuries in the United States every day. Annually, this adds up to 8.5 million injuries and a huge cost to workers, their families, and our economy (approximately $192 billion, according to J. Paul Leigh of the University of California, Davis). In addition, more than 5,000 deaths result from these workplace injuries.

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But it’s not injuries alone that workers deal with. Hundreds of thousands of them develop illnesses on the job, costing $58 billion a year. The number of deaths from illness, moreover, is far higher than from injury: an estimated 53,000 annually.

The total number of occupational illness and injury deaths in 2007 (59,102) was greater than the number of deaths from causes such as motor vehicle crashes (43,945), breast cancer (40,970), prostate cancer (29,093), and homicide (18,361).

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