Wendy Light, CIC
Preliminary results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2009 were released last month with 4,340 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States, a 16.7% drop from the previous year. It was the smallest number of injuries recorded since the census started in 1992. A large contributor to this drop was the challenging economy as total work hours fell by 6% in 2009, compared to a 1% decline in 2008. In addition, industries that often see the largest amount of fatalities, such as construction, experienced significantly larger declines in the number of hours worked. Other highlights from the report included:
- The wholesale trade industry was one of the few private industry sectors to see an increase in fatal work injuries in 2009.
- Fatalities among non-Hispanic black or African-American workers were down 24% in 2009.
- The number of fatal injuries in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance jobs rose 6% in 2009.
- Transportation incidents, which accounted for nearly 40% of all fatal work injuries last year, fell 21% from 2008.
- Workplace suicides were down 10% from 2008, a year that saw the highest number ever — 263.
- The number of fatalities fell for all ages in 2009 except for workers under the age of 16, whose total rose slightly.
While it’s good to see many of these numbers decline, these figures still highlight how crucial it is for companies and businesses to take safety seriously. For the complete summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, click here.