Rhode Island comes up short on a lot of state ranking studies, but here’s one where we excel. According to the AFL-CIO, a Rhode Islander’s chances of dying on the job are lower than practically anywhere in the country.
Rhode Island has the second lowest rate of on-the-job fatalities of any state in the country, according to “Death on the Job,” a report published last week by the AFL-CIO. In 2011 just seven Rhode Islanders died in workplace accidents. That’s a rate of 1.5 deaths per 100,000 workers – less than half the national rate. Rhode Island AFL-CIO president George Nee attributes it to the relatively strong presence of unions in the Ocean State.
"I think that’s a factor because when workers belong to unions there’s an increased awareness of health and safety issues and there’s an increased enforcement of health and safety issues on the job because people through their local unions and through the power of collective bargaining can fight back and stand up when they see unsafe and unhealthy conditions," says Nee.
Only New Hampshire has a lower on-the-job fatality rate than Rhode Island. The state’s with the highest workplace casualty rates are North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Arkansas.