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Workplace Fatalities 2005

Workers Compensation Act

In 2005 there was a total of 5,702 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States. This is down about 1 percent from the 5,764 fatal work injuries recorded in 2004. The rate at which fatal work injuries occurred in 2005 was 4.0 per 100,000 workers, down slightly from 2004.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics The most dangerous industry in terms of total killed was construction, where 1,186 workers died. The rate of 11.0 per 100,000, however, trailed the agricultural segment (32.5 per 100,000), which included fishing and logging; mining (25.6 per 100,000); and transportation and warehousing (17.6 per 100,000), where many drivers died in traffic accidents.

2005 was another tough year for fishermen; 48 died, up from 38 the year before. That made it the nation’s most dangerous occupation in 2005, with a fatality rate of 118.4 per 100,000 – this is almost 30 times higher than the rate of the average worker.

Fishermen face terrible weather conditions, especially in heavy New England seas and Aleutian Island storms, and a fall overboard which often results in death by drowning. They also work with dangerous power tools such as huge winches, hoists,  heavy nets and cages, all of which can turn into lethal missiles on a slippery deck in heavy seas.

Loggers kept its tragic status as one of the most dangerous occupations by recording 80 deaths, a fatality rate of 90.2 per 100,000. Loggers deal with mammoth weights and irregularly shaped tree trunks that can be extremely difficult to control. They also may be injured in remote areas far from medical help and succumb to injuries that might not otherwise have been fatal.

Driving, one of the most routine parts of the day, proved fatal for more workers than any other. 2,480 people died in transportation accidents, more than 43 percent of all fatal workplace occurrences.

Violent acts and assaults contributed to danger in the workplace: 14 percent of all fatalities were due to these. Fifty policemen and sheriff’s patrol officers were murdered on the job, and another 81 died in traffic accidents and other incidents. The tragic toll added up to 18.2 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

After the Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing its census on fatal occupational injuries in 1992, the number of worker deaths has steadily decreased since 1994, when 6,632 workers died resulting in a 14 percent drop. The number of workers has also grown more than 14 percent since 1994, meaning the fatality rate has dropped by about 30 percent.

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