Labor chief assesses drop in workplace fatality rate

Preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics/National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries results show a reduction in the number of 2012 fatal work injuries compared with 2011. Last year, 4,383 workers died from work-related injuries, down from 4,693 the prior year. The rate of fatal workplace injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers was 3.2 in 2012 versus 3.5 in 2011.

“Workers have the right to return home safe and healthy at the end of a work day. Despite that right, poor safety conditions cause thousands of people each year to lose their lives at work,” noted Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in a statement. “I am greatly encouraged by the reduction in workplace fatalities, even in a growing economy. It is a testament to the hard work of employers, unions, health and safety professionals and the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration. Through collaborative education and outreach efforts, and effective law enforcement, these numbers indicate that we are absolutely moving in the right direction.”

“Job gains in oil and gas and construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable,” he affirmed. “That’s why OSHA has undertaken a number of outreach and educational initiatives, including a campaign to prevent falls in construction.”