The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries this week released a report, which showed a decline of 17% in workplace fatalities over 2008.  Overall, there were a total of 4,340 worker deaths last year, compared to 5,214 worker fatalities in 2008.  In fact, the overall number of worker deaths is down by approximately 26% since 2006.

It may be too early to begin celebrating at that decline, though.  The Bureau Of Labor Statistics estimates that the decline is likely due to economic factors.  A bad economy last year meant more numbers of unemployed workers, and likely, fewer fatal accidents.

Some of the main findings of the report are:

  • Only one industry – the wholesale trade industry – reported higher numbers of fatal workplace injuries in 2009.
  • Workplace fatalities in the construction industry declined by 16% last year.
  • Most occupations recorded a drop in fatalities. However, there was an increase of 6% in the number of fatalities involving workers in building, grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations.
  • Transportation accidents accounted for approximately 2/5th of all fatalities in 2009. However, even these declined by 21% from the previous year.
  • The fatality rate decline was sharper among wage and salary workers – a drop of up to 20% – compared to the self employed category in which there was a drop of 3%.

Those are welcome statistics, but as Texas workplace accident lawyers, we believe the real proof of the pudding will come when the economy begins to look up, and many more jobs in the manufacturing, construction and other accident-prone sectors begin to open up again.