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U.N.: Some Work Deaths Preventable

April 12, 1999

GENEVA (AP) _ An estimated 1.1 million work-related deaths occur each year, many of which could be prevented by better safety measures, the International Labor Organization said Monday.

Nearly 300,000 of these deaths are due to exposure to hazardous substances which led to cancer, heart and respiratory disease, the U.N. labor organization said _ with asbestos alone causing 100,000 deaths annually.

The ILO said workers suffer an estimated 250 million accidents each year. Working children are caught in 12 million occupational accidents, of which 12,000 are fatal.

Many of the accidents occur in developing countries which haven’t adopted necessary safety measures. For instance, construction sites in developing countries are 10 times more dangerous than in industrialized countries, it said.

The ILO said an estimated 600,000 lives each year could be saved if safety and information practices were improved.

The data was released by Jukka Takala, chief of the ILO’s health and safety program, at the start of a conference on occupational health in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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