Michigan and the Detroit area have long been hubs of manufacturing in the United States. Unfortunately, a worker-friendly citizenry does not always translate to worker-friendly employment. When it comes to workplace safety, for instance, Michigan is slightly above the national average, but the state’s employers still have a lot of room in which to improve. Compared to other states, Michigan ranks 21st safest in terms of its rate of on-the-job fatalities, according to the AFL-CIO’s annual “Death on the Job, The Toll of Neglect” report.
Although workplace safety is monitored through a combination of employer self-policing, state and federal regulations and worker actions – such as whistleblower claims – Michigan still saw 162 on-the-job fatalities in 2016, which represents the most recent data available. This gives the state a workplace fatality rate of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers, which is just below the average rate when all states are combined.
On a nationwide basis, 5,190 people died while on the job in 2016. This number represents an increase over 2015, when the nation saw 354 fewer – 4,836 – workplace deaths. The national rate for workplace fatalities in 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. Among the states, Connecticut was the safest for workers. Although 28 people died on the job in 2016, Connecticut’s workplace fatality rate was 1.6 deaths for every 100,000 workers.
Wyoming was ranked last in terms of on-the-job deaths. Its relatively-few 34 fatalities represented a large number of workers in the sparsely-populated state, resulting in a workplace fatality rate of 12.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. The construction industry accounted for almost 20 percent of all workplace fatalities, and workplace violence increased to become the second-leading cause of death for people at work.