More Americans Die In Their Workplaces Each Year Than Died During 10 Years Of War In Iraq

4,690 people were killed at work in 2010, up three percent from 2009, the Center for Public Integrity reports. That means that more Americans died in their workplaces in one year than died during the entire war in Iraq.

But while Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to protect defense spending from budget cuts, they are simultaneously looking to defund the agency that protects workers from physical harm in the workplace.

Many on-the-job deaths were met with only a small fine, an average of $7,900. Some workplaces were never inspected at all. And because of understaffed regulation offices — and the looming threat of further budget cuts — the numbers aren’t likely to change:

It would take the perpetually short-staffed OSHA 130 years to inspect every workplace in the U.S. Managers and their underlings must strike a balance between meeting “performance goals” set in Washington and conducting comprehensive inspections when deaths occur. A target of 42,250 inspections nationwide was established for fiscal year 2012, up 5.6 percent from the previous year’s goal. The number of federal inspectors, meanwhile, has stayed mostly flat; there were 1,118 in February 2012.

Republicans have proposed slashing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) budget by 20 percent, and have argued that OSHA should be focusing on enforcing penalties for killing an employee.


Republicans consider enforcement of OSHA standards ‘job-killing’ regulation. On the other hand, a lack of enforcement, decreased inspections, and an even smaller budget for regulation actually lead to workplace deaths.