A report being released this weekend claims 78 people in Tennessee were killed in workplace-related accidents and incidents during 2013.
The fatalities listed in the “Tennessee Workers: Dying For a Job” report resulted from a variety of causes, from heart attacks to vehicle wrecks. But Suzanne Coile of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Central Labor Council tells WUOT News a disturbing number of deaths were the result of preventable industrial accidents, like falls, fires and electrocutions. “I think sometimes people say ‘Oh well, that’s just the cost of doing business’," she says, “and that’s not true. It doesn’t have to happen that way.”
The report was produced by the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Central Labor Council, along with several other local workplace safety organizations. It examines data from several sources to compile accident statistics from the last two years. This is the second report in as many years.
Although the report recognizes a downward trend in the number of deaths in Tennessee each year, the state’s fatality rate is consistently higher than the national average.
Aside from statistics, the report offers profiles of some of the workers who have died. “It is vital we see these lost workers not as cold statistics on a computer print-out but as fathers, husbands, neighbors and fellow workers,” says Coile. “They went to work in the morning. They didn’t come home in the afternoon.”
The study will be officially released Saturday April 26 during a Worker’s Memorial Day tribute at the City-County building in Knoxville. The event is part of an international movement to recognize deceased workers and to bring attention to workplace safety.