Livelihoods and death

FRIDAY, AUG. 26, 2011

On-the-job fatalities are down sharply from 2000

U.S. workers are far less likely to die on the job than a decade ago, a federal report shows.

Workplace fatalities in 2010 numbered 4,547 – a 23 percent decline from 2000, when 5,915 fatalities were recorded, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

Deaths averaged 3.5 for every 100,000 persons employed in 2010, the same rate as in 2009, which was considered the safest year since the agency began tracking fatal occupational injuries.

Two high-profile disasters in the 2010 toll were the explosion of the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, which claimed 29 lives, and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers in the Gulf of Mexico. Mining-related fatalities for the year jumped 74 percent, to 172. One category of mining – machine operators – had the fifth-highest fatality rate last year.

By state, workplace fatalities totaled 104 in Washington last year, up from 76 in 2009. In Idaho, 33 workers died on the job in 2010, up from 27 the year before.

Staff reports


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