Occupational Fatalities Largely Unchanged Year-to-Year

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newsThe Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released preliminary data for the total number of fatal occupation injuries in 2010. Compared to the year before, the overall figures are statistically similar. According to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were about 4,547 work related deaths in 2010 and 4,551 deaths in 2009.

“No worker should have to sacrifice his or her life to earn a living,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “An average 12 workers die on the job every day, and that reality continues to drive the work of the Labor Department. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the National Safety Council estimated that 14,000 workers died each year on the job. Now, with a workforce that has doubled in size, the annual number of fatalities has dropped significantly. But it’s not enough. We cannot relent from our enforcement of laws that keep our nation’s workers safe. One worker killed or injured on the job is one too many.

The B.L.S. National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report for 2010 had a number of other statistically interesting findings as well:

– Work-related fatalities resulting from fires more than doubled from 53 in 2009 to 109 in 2010. Last year saw the highest number of deaths due to fire since 2003.

– Overall workplace homicides declined 7 percent in 2010 to the lowest total ever recorded by the fatality census. However, workplace homicides involving women increased by 13 percent.

– Fatal work injuries among non-Hispanic black or African-American workers declined by 9 percent in 2010 while fatalities among non-Hispanic white workers were higher by 2 percent. Fatal work injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers were down 4 percent in 2010.

– The number of fatal workplace injuries among police officers increased by 40 percent, up from 96 deaths in 2009 to 134 in 2010.

“As our economy continues to strengthen and the workforce expands, we at the Department of Labor will remain resolute in our mission to ensure that safety is not sacrificed as America’s workers provide for themselves and their families,” Solis said. “My constant focus is ‘good jobs for everyone,’ and safety is an essential part of that equation.”

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Marie is a writer for Recruiter.com covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.