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Hoosier Workers Remembered On Workers Memorial Day

More than 200 Hoosiers died on the job in the last year, double the number from just two years ago.

Indiana’s AFL-CIO president says more workplace inspectors and inspections are needed.

Photo: Gabe.G / Flickr

Indiana’s AFL-CIO president says more workplace inspectors and inspections are needed.

203 Hoosier workers died last year – two years ago, it was 103.

Indiana AFL-CIO President Brett Voorhies calls that increase “alarming” and says there are a number of ways to address it. He says the state needs more inspections, more regulation of hazardous materials, and better protections for employees who report unsafe working conditions.

And Voorhies says the business community must be held more accountable.

“Not just hearsay or going through the ropes or through the motions – there needs to be stronger fines on these companies when it happens. But it’s something that needs to be taken a lot more serious by our elected officials,” he says.

Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble says worker vigilance must be part of the solution.

“A job that people have done every day for years – if they’re not focused on what they’re doing, that lapse in concentration can result in an accident and a possible fatality,” Ruble says.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets a benchmark for how many safety inspectors each state should have.

Ruble says Indiana’s benchmark was set more than a decade ago and the state is talking with the federal government about changing that number, though he wouldn’t say whether he thinks it needs to be higher or lower.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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