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Deaths on the job hit a new low in 2007

The year saw 5,488 fatalities, with falls and homicides rising.

August 21, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The number of workers killed on the job annually dropped to a historic low in 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday.

The number of worker deaths dropped to 5,488 last year -- the fewest since the bureau began keeping track in 1992. That's down 6% from the 5,840 deaths reported in 2006.

Still, the government found significant increases in some types of fatal injuries. A record number of workers died from falls and workplace homicides increased 13%.

The nation's most dangerous jobs? They were fishers and related fishing workers (with a rate of 111.8 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers), logging workers (86.4), aircraft pilots and flight engineers (66.7) and structural iron and steel workers (45.5).

Construction continued to have the most deaths of any private-sector industry, with 1,178 in 2007.

The overall U.S. rate was 3.7 fatal injuries for every 100,000 workers, the lowest annual rate ever reported by the fatality census.

The number of fatal falls on the job rose to a record 835 in 2007, even though deadly falls from roofs decreased.

Workplace homicides rose 13% to 610 in 2007 from the all-time low recorded the year before.

Although the construction industry had led the nation's private sector in workplace fatalities for five years in a row, the number of deaths in that industry dropped from 1,239 in 2006 to 1,178 in 2007, a 5% decrease.

The 2007 numbers show that there were 10.3 fatal work injuries for every 100,000 construction workers.

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