According to statistics released recently, 457 workers died from workplace accidents last year. This number represents a decline from 2007, and about a 20% drop from the highest level of 2000. (After a drop from 2000 to 2002, workplace deaths increased until 2007.)
The four most frequent ways that workers were killed were: motor vehicle collisions (30%), being struck by equipment, objects, or vehicles (16%), falls (12%), and homicides (12%). Approximately 94% of those killed were men.
Although contractors attribute part of the decline to safety training and better equipment, the slowdown in the economy doubtless meant that the workforce – especially in the most dangerous jobs – was significantly smaller. And with laborers being hired more frequently as “independent contractors” to dodge payroll expenses, that means less safety equipment and training.
Not surprisingly, the statistics, which were published in the Houston Chronicle, indicate that the two most dangerous types of work remain transportation and moving of materials, and construction and extraction. Also not a surprise was the age group of the overwhelming majority of workers who were killed: it was from 25 years old to 54 years old.
This report signals a need for employers to remain vigilant to ensure workplace safety.