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Truthout Interview: The Silent Killing of America's Workforce

The Silent Killing of America's Workforce: An Interview with Patrice Woeppel on the Deadly Inadequacies of the Workers' Compensation System

Frank Joseph Smecker: You begin your book "Depraved Indifference: the Workers' Compensation System" with a staggering fact: "Every eight minutes in the US, someone dies from an occupational illness or injury." That's incredible, in a really disconcerting sense -- that's more than 60,000 deaths per year ... Can you explain how this nightmare has become a reality for so many?

Patrice Woeppel: Worker deaths from toxic exposures and other work illnesses are conservatively estimated by NIOSH, Markowitz, Steenland and other researchers to be 50,000 to 60,000 deaths each year, or 10 times the number of fatalities recorded by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).1 It is a disaster of monumental proportions that goes largely unrecorded and unnoticed. The United States has no comprehensive occupational health data collection system.

Occupational illness and injury deaths are now considered the eighth leading cause of death in the US. Read more.


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