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Families mourn victims of workplace accidents

Forty-seven Massachusetts workers were killed on the job last year. Mother of woman killed by mental health patient fights for new laws.

Forty-seven workers were killed on the job in Massachusetts last year, according to a report released yesterday, prompting family members, union officials and advocates to publicly demand stricter laws and more accountability from employers.

The report, compiled by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, found that workplace violence continues to be a major hazard and that Hispanic workers experience workplace deaths at a much higher rate than white workers. The number of deaths dropped from 59 in 2009, which experts attributed to the reduction in residential construction projects.

At a State House rally Thursday commemorating Workers’ Memorial Day, unions demanded companies face heftier fines in the wake of a workplace death.

“There wasn’t one case where [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] fines exceeded $10,000,” said Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Kimberly Flynn’s daughter Stephanie Moulton, a 25-year-old counselor at a Revere mental health facility, was abducted and killed by a patient in January.

Flynn claims Moulton repeatedly worried about her safety and is now fighting for legislation that would require mental health facilities to perform annual risk assessments and implement crisis plans.

“My daughter got up and went to work and never came home,” said Flynn. “We will hold people accountable.

“My daughter didn’t die in vain.”

 
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