FARGO — Local workers union officials and community leaders will gather Thursday April 28 at the Fargo IBEW 1426 Labor Hall to mark Workers Memorial Day which remembers workers who died or suffered illness or injuries while on the job. The most recent finalized OSHA statistics from 2020 note 26 workers were killed on the job in North Dakota resulting in a workplace death rate of 7.4 deaths per 100000 workers according to information provided by Landis Larson North Dakota AFLCIO president. Only three states — Wyoming South Dakota and Alaska — had higher workplace death rates than North Dakota Larson said. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wyoming had 35 workplace deaths in 2020 while South Dakota had 32 and Alaska had 31.
In Wyoming the workplace death rate in 2020 was 13 deaths per 100000 workers while Alaskas rate was was 10.7 per 100000 workers and South Dakotas was 7.8 per 100000 workers according to the National Safety Council website.
Minnesota had 67 workplace deaths in 2020 and a workplace death rate of 2.4 per 100000 workers according to the National Safety Council. In addition to workplace fatalities many more North Dakota workers suffered from occupational illnesses or were injured on the job according to Larson who will speak about the importance of workplace safety at Thursdays event. Union leaders will read the names of the 18 workers who were killed on the job in North Dakota in 2021 while attendees place carnations to honor them. Labor officials said the final tally of workplace deaths in North Dakota for 2021 wont be known until all suspected workplace deaths have been ascertained.
According to Larson workplaces that have union contracts or are worker organized have better safety records than places that arent. On Thursday union members leaders and allies across the country will observe Workers Memorial Day by coming together to organize workers and call on employers and the government for workplace protections from COVID19 violence and heat illness among other hazards Larson said. According to Larson one worker a traveling nurse died of COVID19 while on the job in North Dakota since the pandemic began. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the 26 workers who died on the job in North Dakota in 2020 nine died as a result of an incident involving transportation seven of the deaths involved contact with objects and equipment and four involved falls and slips.