Indiana labor union leaders are calling for improved workplace safety enforcement with the state’s rate of deaths while working about one-third higher than the national average.
Federal data shows Indiana had 146 worker deaths during 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available. A report from the AFL-CIO says that represents 4.7 deaths per 100,000 workers compared to the national rate of 3.5 deaths per 100,000.
Indiana AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies said the state’s workers deserve better protection from workplace dangers. The union says the 38 inspectors with Indiana’s worker safety agency would need more than 200 years to inspect each workplace once.
The state Department of Labor says Indiana worker deaths fell by 27, or 15%, from a year earlier and that fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes or in agriculture aren’t covered by workplace safety regulations.
Indiana had 115 worker deaths in 2015, which rose over three years to 173 during 2018 before the 2019 decline, according to annual federal reports.