Workplace fatalities drop 17 percent

The number of workplace fatalities decreased 17 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Last year, 4,340 workers died from work-related injuries, down from the 5,214 work injuries in 2008.

The 2009 total is the lowest annual preliminary since the CFOI’s records began in 1992. The rate of fatal work injuries for U.S. workers was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from 3.7 in 2008. Thirty-seven states reported a decrease in workplace fatalities.

The economic downfall played a large role in the injury decrease. Total hours worked fell by 6 percent in 2009, with the construction industry getting the biggest hit.

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