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A Closer Look at the BLS' Findings on 2010 Workplace Fatalities

Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the 2010 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). For those unfamiliar with the CFOI, it is a comprehensive survey of all fatal work injuries 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 data gathers reviewed more than 18,000 documents over the last year.

The 2010 CFOI reveals that the total number of preliminary fatal work injuries was 4,547, a fatality rate of roughly 3.5 per 100,000 full-time employees. This is very similar to the figures found in the final version of the 2009 CFOI, which measured the total number of recorded fatal work injuries as 4,551 (also a fatality rate of 3.5 per 100,000 full-time employees.)

According to the BLS, this nearly identical rate/number of fatal work injuries can once again be largely attributed to the current state of the economy. The agency estimates that while the total number of hours worked in 2010 increased slightly from the previous two years, those industries traditionally considered to be "high-risk" still saw a decline/experienced slow growth in the number of hours worked.

This means that in industries with historically higher fatality rates, there were 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 2010 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.

Related Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010 (Preliminary Results)" Aug. 25, 2011

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