Workplace Fatalities at Lowest Level Since 1992

Economic factors have likely played a role in the 10 percent decline in the total number of workplace fatalities recorded in the United States in 2008, according to a preliminary report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS said preliminary figures indicate a total of 5,071 workplace fatalities were recorded in 2008 – the smallest annual preliminary total since 1992 – down from 5,657 in 2007. Based on these preliminary counts, the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007. BLS cited the impact of economic factors, noting that average hours worked at the national level fell by one percent in 2008. Some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of worker fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger declines in employment or hours worked. Workplace fatalities in the private construction sector in 2008 declined by 20 percent from the updated 2007 total, twice the all-worker decline of 10 percent. Fatal workplace falls, which had risen to a series high in 2007, also declined by 20 percent in 2008. The BLS findings appear to tally with a recent report from NCCI Holdings Inc showing a continuing decrease in workers compensation claims frequency in 2008. Check out I.I.I. info on workers comp.

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