16/08/2006 - 05:00 am

Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington D.C., has completed their 2005 Census for Fatal Occupational Injuries. A total of 5,702 workplace fatalities occurred last year, down from 5,764 in 2002. The fatality rate also declined last year to 4.0 per 100,000 employees, down from 4.1 in 2004.

While private construction continued to be the highest of any industry sector, the number of fatalities was 4 percent lower than last year. Fatal falls declined 7 percent last year from an all-time high recorded just a year earlier. The number of workers who were fatally injured after being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment rose from 378 to 390. Fatal injuries caused by electrocutions were down slightly. Fatalities caused by falling objects remained relatively similar, only increasing by two deaths to 604.

Deaths that occurred during residential building construction, utility system construction, and highway, street, and bridge construction increased, but were offset by substantial decrease in the number of specialty trade contractor fatalities.

Fatal work injuries to individuals under 20 years of age was up about 18 percent from the 2004 figure to 166 cases. Fatalities among women in 2005 (402) were the lowest annual total ever recorded by the census. While the number of fatalities among Hispanic employees edged up slightly last year due to increased employment of Hispanic workers, the actual fatality rate declined.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. issued the following statement, “"The report is positive news for our nation and all workers. The overall decrease in workplace fatalities is the third lowest annual total recorded since BLS began collecting this data. More importantly, this shows that more men and women were able to return home safely from their jobs.

"Many of our initiatives to reduce workplace fatalities are showing tremendous successes, but there is still more work to do," he said. "The data released today highlight areas where our resources must be focused in order to eliminate fatalities on the job. We remain committed to doing just that."

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