Working to an early grave: Worker mortality in South Dakota

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Twenty South Dakota workers were killed on the job in in 2019. That’s according to a report released by the South Dakota Federation of Labor, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the release, the state saw 4.7 deaths in 2019 due to on-the-job injuries per 100,000 workers, higher than the national average of 3.5 per 100,000. This lands South Dakota the 12th highest fatality rate in the nation, tied with Indiana, Iowa and Texas. However, this rate is down from 2018, when South Dakota had a worker death rate of 6.9 per 100,000, the 5th highest in the nation.

The release also draws attention to the lack of funding and personnel at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The report states that Federal OSHA currently has only 774 safety and health inspectors and state OSHA inspectors are expected to total a combined 1,024 individuals.

The Federation says this is a historic low, and that with its current personnel, it would take Federal inspectors 253 years to inspect all covered workplaces just one time. That breaks down to an equivalent of one inspector for every 82,881 workers.

You can read the Labor Federation’s full report here:

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