The 25 dead coal miners, and 4 still missing, in West Virginia is shocking and horrible. What is perhaps more shocking is that 29 workers dying on the job in one day is actually only about twice the daily average in America, and that about 50 coal miners in China die on the job every week:
China says 83,196 people lost their lives in work-related incidents last year.
China's State Administration of Work Safety reported 380,000 incidents in the workplace that caused death or injury.
How does that stack up compared to the U.S.? To put the situation into perspective, the U.S. has a workforce of 155 million, while China has over five times that amount, at about 801 million.
The U.S. reported 5,071 worker deaths in 2008.
So the number of workplace fatalities in China is 16 times that of those in the U.S.
Approximately 14 workers die per day in the U.S. compared to 228 in China.
Coal mining accounted for 2,631 deaths last year in China - 7 deaths per day.
In fact, even as we speak, China is searching for 33 trapped coal miners, too.
For additional context, on the 5,071 worker deaths in 2008, 5,424 Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan total.
There are human costs to our worker safety, energy and trade policies. Ongoing stories about trapped coal miners in China and West Virginia bring them into the public light, but they happen every day.
update: New figures show the daily fatality rate to be 16.