Workplace fatalities fall in 2009

The number of workers who died on the job dropped 17 percent in 2009, which is the lowest level since 1992, according to The decrease followed a 10 percent drop in workplace fatalities in 2008.

There were 4,340 workplace fatalities recorded in 2009. The decline is attributed in part to workers logging fewer hours during the recession; workers on average logged 6 percent fewer hours in 2009 compared with 2008. The unemployment rate for the construction industry, which is considered one of the more dangerous industries, was 17.3 percent; construction employees worked 17 percent fewer hours in 2009 compared with 2008.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is encouraged by the decrease.

"As the economy regains strength and more people re-enter the work force, the Department of Labor will remain vigilant to ensure America's workers are kept safe while they earn a paycheck," Solis says.

Commercial fishing was the deadliest occupation in the U.S. for the second straight year with a fatality rate about 60 times higher than the average rate. Additionally, the fatality rate rose 6 percent in the building and grounds maintenance sector, which was one of the few sectors to see an increase.

Workplace suicides decreased 10 percent to 237, and workplace homicides decreased 1 percent to 521.

Date : 8/20/2010