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National Workers' Day recognizes those injured or killed on the job

Posted: April 26, 2011 - 9:21pm

Thursday is National Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to recognize workers who died or sustained work-related injuries or illnesses during the previous year, events statistics show as declining.

“Fatal work injuries in Alaska were down 48 percent in 2009 to 17, from 33 in 2008,” Labor Commissioner Click Bishop said in a release. “But even one fatality is devastating to the families, co-workers and businesses involved.”

The release states the preliminary data shows fatal injuries were also down nationwide, going from 5,214 in 2008 to 4,340 in 2009, a 17 percent decrease.

“We all have a responsibility to understand what causes accidents and make changes to bring some meaning to these tragic events,” Bishop said. “Through the focused, coordinated and sustained efforts of state and federal agencies, employers and all Alaska workers, our goal of zero lives lost can become a reality.”

Labor Standards and Safety’s Consultation and Training Section can help evaluate hazards and minimize the chances of fatalities at Alaska’s worksites. For information, call (800) 656-4972. To report circumstances where a worker’s life may be in danger, contact the AKOSH Enforcement Section Hotline at (800) 770-4940.

The annual workplace fatality rate was 18 deaths for every 100,000 workers when the Occupational Safety and Health Act took effect April 28, 1970. That rate has been reduced to about three deaths for every 100,000 workers. Most fatal work injuries resulted from transportation incidents than from any other event with highway incidents alone accounting for one out of every five fatal work injuries in 2009.

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