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Workplace fatalities on the rise in Florida, rest of nation

A report that the AFL-CIO released in April reveals that workplace fatalities jumped significantly in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. That year, 5,190 people died while working at their jobs, compared with 4,836 worker deaths in 2015 - an increase of more than 5 percent. In Florida, alone, there were 309 wrongful deaths in the workplace.

Although this number may seem high, the workplace fatality rate in the Sunshine is on par with the national rate: 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. This makes Florida the 22nd safest state in which to work. On the other hand, the workplace fatalities in the Florida are skewed heavily toward foreign-born workers. Of the 309 deaths, 104 of the workers killed were originally from outside the United States.

This ranks Florida third - behind Texas (156) and California (151) - in the nation for the most foreign-born workers killed on the job. This is largely due to the fact that many immigrant workers are employed in construction, which is not only a big industry in Florida, but also accounted for almost 20 percent (991) of all workplace fatalities in 2016. These figures were compiled in the annual "Death on the Job, The Toll of Neglect" report.

In 2016, workplace violence rose to become the second leading cause of on-the-job fatalities. In total, 866 workers lost their lives to violence; 500 of the fatalities were investigated as homicides. The most dangerous sector in which to work is the one comprised of agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting. The fatality rate in these industries is 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.

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