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A Closer Look at the BLS' Findings on 2009 Workplace Fatalities

In workers' compensation defense news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released the 2009 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). 

The CFOI is a comprehensive survey of all fatal work injuries in the United States each year. 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, BLS data gathers reviewed more than 17,000 documents over the last year.

The 2009 CFOI reveals that the total number of recorded fatal work injuries was 4,340, a fatality rate of roughly 3.3 per 100,000 full-time employees. This represents a significant drop from the 2008 CFOI, which measured the total number of recorded fatal work injuries as 5,214, a fatality rate of roughly 3.7 per 100,000 full-time employees. 

According to the BLS, this decline in fatal work injuries can be largely attributed to the current state of the economy. The agency estimates that there was a six percent reduction in the total number of hours worked in 2009. This reduction in hours worked coupled with high unemployment rates (often in industries with historically higher fatality rates) translated into less people working and being subjected to workplace hazards.

Why are these figures so important for employers?

Employers in all industries should take the time to review the 2009 CFOI and consider implementing measures to prevent both workplace fatalities and serious workplace injuries.

The next post will continue to examine the 2009 CFOI ...

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

Related Resources:
• National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2009 (Preliminary Results)  (Bureau of labor Statistics)

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