Report ranks SD 47th worst in workplace safetySouth Dakota is among the worst states when it comes to workplace safety, a report released Wednesday shows.
By: ASHLEY MARTIN, Forum Communications Co.
South Dakota is among the worst states when it comes to workplace safety, a report released Wednesday shows.
It ranked the state at 47, with 50 being the worst. South Dakota had a fatality rate of 8.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010, the report said.
The report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” was composed by the AFL-CIO, a federation for trade unions in the United States and Canada.
District 28 Republican Sen. Ryan Maher, of Isabel, found the report surprising “to a degree.”
“It’s definitely something to look at to improve that,” he said. “I don’t really think of workplace accidents, but we’re in a really rural, isolated part of the state.”
The report is cause for concern, said Bill Kojola, industrial hygienist with the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.
“When you have a trend like that — when you tend to be high — somewhere … you’ve got employers who aren’t paying attention to safety and health hazards that their workforce is contending with,” he said.
The report doesn’t pinpoint where fatalities occurred. Most work-related accidents in Maher’s area are likely farm and ranch related, Maher said.
“There’s accidents on farms and ranches all the time and when you work with livestock, it just can’t be prevented all the time,” he said. “Accidents are going to happen because you’ve got unpredictable animals.”
Nationwide, there were 4,690 workplace deaths due to traumatic injuries and more than 3.8 million workers across all industries who experienced work-related injuries and illnesses. In 2009, 4,551 people died on the job, according to the report.