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BLS releases findings on 2011 workplace fatalities

A few weeks ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the preliminary results of the 2011 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). For those unfamiliar with the CFOI, it is essentially a comprehensive survey of all fatal work injuries here in the United States each year.

Specifically, it uses information provided by "diverse state, federal and independent data sources to identify, verify and describe fatal work injuries." To illustrate the depth and breadth of this survey, consider that BLS researchers examined more than 20,000 unique source documents over the course of the last year.

The 2011 CFOI reveals that the (preliminary) total number of fatal work injuries was 4,609, a fatality rate of roughly 3.5 per 100,000 full-time employees. This is a slight drop from the figures found in the final version of the 2010 CFOI, which measured the total number of recorded fatal work injuries as 4,690, which translates to a fatality rate of 3.6 per 100,000 full-time employees.

Interestingly, the BLS determined that the number of fatal work injuries among workers in the private construction industry declined by seven percent to 721, trailing only the transportation and warehousing industry, which saw 733 fatal work injuries in 2011.

As it turns out, fatal work injuries in the private construction industry -- one of California's largest employers -- have actually been steadily declining since 2006 and are down nearly 42 percent overall.

Here, the agency attributes much of this decline to the economy. Specifically, there have been less people working and therefore being subjected to the workplace hazards of this historically dangerous industry over the last five years.

Why are these figures so important for employers?

Employers in all industries should take the time to review the 2011 CFOI and consider implementing measures to prevent both workplace fatalities and serious workplace injuries.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2011" (Preliminary Results)" Sept. 20, 2012

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