By contrast, the workplace fatality rate in Massachusetts was just 1.4 per 100,000 workers. Obviously some industries will always be more dangerous than others, but the elevated fatality rate for construction workers in North Dakota versus other states shows that it's not just that. Who you are also matters: Latino workers were particularly at risk, with a workplace death rate of 3.7 per 100,000 workers; nearly two-thirds of the Latinos killed on the job were born outside the United States.
- The state’s 2012 job fatality rate of 17.7 per 100,000 is more than five times the national average and is one of the highest state job fatality rates ever reported for any state. The state’s fatality rate more than doubled from a rate of 7.0 per 100,000 in 2007, and the number of workers killed on the job increased from 25 to 65.
- Latino workers accounted for 12 of the North Dakota deaths in 2012, a fourfold increase from the three Latino worker deaths in 2011.
- The fatality rate in the mining and oil and gas extraction sector in North Dakota was an alarming 104.0 per 100,000, more than six times the national fatality rate of 15.9 per 100,000 in this industry; and the construction sector fatality rate in North Dakota was 97.4 per 100,000, almost ten times the national fatality rate of 9.9 per 100,000 for construction.
The state to state variations in fatalities remind us that regulation and oversight work. They save lives—something to remember when Republicans drone on about "job-killing regulations." That regulations necessarily kill jobs is just not true, but if you need more evidence that regulations save lives, consider that, according to the AFL-CIO, since the 1970 passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, "The job fatality rate has been cut by 81 percent; more than 492,000 workers' lives have been saved."
Then consider that Texas hasn't seen last year's devastating fertilizer plant explosion as a reason to push for new safety measures.