A new report shows Michigan has the 48th-lowest penalties for job safety violations.
The study from AFL-CIO titled "Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect," collected data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2015, the most recent year data available.
The report showed 134 workers died while on the job during the year. Another 96,000 were hurt in work-related incidents.
“Everyone deserves to have a safe place to work,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Even one death in the workplace is too many, and this report shows us that Michigan still has a long way to go to keep people safe on the job.”
According to the report, the average penalty for OSHA violations in Michigan was just $763 in 2016, which ranks 48th-lowest in the country.
As of 2017, there are 55 state Compliance Safety and Health Officers and one federal CSHO inspector responsible for inspecting job sites across the entire state. That means it would take these 56 inspectors 51 years to inspect each workplace in Michigan one time.
"We need more inspectors. That's my reaction. It's a big job and if you expect it to get done, you gotta make sure you have enough people to do it. The right people to do it. And the time to do it," said Michael Hendrics, resident.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said they are seeing a downwards trend in workplace deaths and injuries.
They said the amount has decreased by 13 percent since 2011 and 59 percent since 1999.
Hendrics said it is still unsettling to know your life is sometimes at the mercy of potential negligence in the workplace.
"You feel like you're safe at work, but you know that you just might not be. Somebody hasn't checked out that crane or that work truck or that fork life. And you go and use it and something happens and you don't know how to feel about it. I mean, you just wish they would have better management over it I guess," Hendrics said.
Workers Memorial Day is Friday, April 28. People in Detroit, Saginaw, Calumet Hancock and Marquette will gather at several ceremonies to honor those hurt or killed on the job.
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