The number of U.S. workplace fatalities in 2008 fell to the lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking fatal occupation injuries in 1992, according to a preliminary report released Thursday, August 20.
A total of 5,071 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2008, compared with 5,657 a year earlier.
“Based on these preliminary counts, the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers in 2008 was 3.6 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from the final rate of 4.0 in 2007,” the BLS said.
“Economic factors likely played a role in the fatality decrease,” the BLS said. “Average hours worked at the national level fell by 1 percent in 2008, and some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of worker fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger declines in employment or hours worked.”
The report also noted that economic conditions may have affected government agencies that provide data to the BLS, which may have delayed receipt of all information.
The agency said it expects to issue its final report on 2008 workplace fatalities in April 2010.