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Kansas work safety rating is 10th worst in the country

When Pittsburg employers bypass safety rules, it's not usually the decision makers of the company who are in danger. Some businesses feel safety isn't as much of a priority as deadlines and, ultimately, profits. Failure to take adequate safety measures creates opportunities for workplace accidents and worker injuries and deaths.

Some Kansas employers choose to ignore safety regulations because workers' compensation insurance and laws protect them from liability. Companies also may play the odds that federal inspectors from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will never discover violations. The regulatory agency reportedly is plagued by a lack of staff and funding.

The government penalizes safety violators with fines, which often aren't significant enough to stop companies from breaking the rules. Employers know understaffing keeps OSHA from conducting adequate numbers of inspections. It's estimated it would take more than a century for OSHA to make a single visit to every U.S. workplace.

A report about workplace safety is issued annually by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the AFL-CIO. The newest report, based on 2012 government data, compares workplace safety among states. Kansas does not fare well.

Only nine states have worse ratings than Kansas for on-the-job fatalities. Nationally, 3.4 workers were killed at work in 2012 for every 100,000 employees; the death rate for Kansas was significantly higher at 5.7 fatalities per 100,000 employees -- 88 workers died statewide that year. State AFL-CIO officials have used the poor Kansas ranking to call for legislative changes that would tighten safety rules.

The report added up totals without giving details about the problems faced by workers' families after the deaths. Victims of job-related injuries and family members who've lost relatives depend upon workers' compensation benefits. When negligence is caused by a third party – a defendant other than an employer -- monetary relief may be available through legal claims.

Source: The Hays Daily News, "Kansas is 10th most dangerous state to work, according to report" No author given, May. 09, 2014

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