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Title: Societal Costs of Injuries and Illnesses
Type: Text Slide
There are also substantial costs beyond those borne by employers when workers are killed, injured, or become ill.
A widely-regarded study done in 2003 (see reference document by Kip Viscusi and Joseph Aldy titled "The Value of a statistical Life: A critical Review of Market Estimates Throughout the World") provided estimates of the monetary value to society of each life lost. When OSHA updated these estimates to 2010 to account for inflation, each life lost was valued at $8.7 million. Multiplying this by the 4,547 workplace deaths reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010, OSHA estimates the annual cost of known workplace fatalities to be nearly $40 billion.
This estimate does not even include the cost of non-fatal injuries, or of occupational illnesses like cancer and lung disease. These illnesses often occur many years or even decades after workers are exposed, and are therefore seldom recorded in government statistics or employer surveillance activities.
What we do know is that an estimated 60,000 workers die each year from occupational illnesses, and more than 850,000 develop new illnesses annually. Between 10,000 and 20,000 of these deaths are from cancers linked to occupational exposures, and between 5,000 and 24,000 die from work-related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.