Home>Highlight>New Jersey workplace deaths edged down in 2019, report finds

NJ AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov)

New Jersey workplace deaths edged down in 2019, report finds

State among nation’s safest for workers

By Nikita Biryukov, May 04 2021 12:35 pm

A new report found 74 New Jersey workers died on the job in 2019, marking a decrease from the previous year’s 83 workplace deaths.

The report, issued by the national AFL-CIO, found New Jersey was among the safest states for employees, reporting just 1.8 deaths per 100,000 workers. That number put it third in the rankings, behind only New Hampshire and Connecticut, which reported 1.5 and 1.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, respectively.

New Jersey’s per-capita worker death rate was a little more than half of the national average of 3.5 per 100,000.

“We are privileged to have pro-labor state and federal elected officials advocating on behalf of working families,” New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech said. “We have the right to a safe workplace and a voice on the job, and we thank our lawmakers, especially for the COVID-19 safety and compensation measures they sponsored.”

The state trended closer to its peers in injuries, reporting 2.5 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers, a figure similar to the national rate of 2.8.

New Jersey fined violators more heavily than its peers, with the average penalty for serious safety breaches coming to $4,491. The national average was $2,973.

But the state levied lighter penalties for fatality investigations, averaging $8,913 versus the nation’s $13,343 average.

Workplace deaths in the Garden State appear to have spiked in 2020, fueled by the pandemic. According to preliminary data released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 246 workers died in New Jersey last year, with at least 176 of the deaths linked to COVID-19.

“Even as we focus on the coronavirus and making sure there’s enough PPE,” Wowkanech said. “We cannot and will not forget every other sector of labor where safety standards and protocols need reinforcing.”

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