Attention, those who believe that OSHA has gone overboard with its workplace safety regulations: You’ve got one less fact to support your argument. When all is said and done, the final count of worker fatalities in 2010 will be higher than in 2009.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 4,547 people died from work-related injuries in 2010, compared to 4,551 in 2009.
Yes, that is four fewer from one year to the next.
However, the figures that are first reported by BLS each August eventually go up when they’re finalized the following April. Over the last three years, the final, revised total has gone up an average of 174 fatalities.
Total hours worked were up slightly in 2010 compared to 2009.
However, if the usual increase in the final numbers is similar to previous years, workplace deaths from 2009 to 2010 will have gone up about 3.7%.
Some statistics from the BLS report:
- The rate of work fatalities was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, the same as 2009.
- Fatal injuries among the self-employed declined 6%, while deaths among employees increased 2%.
- Deaths in construction declined 10% from 2009 to 2010 and are down nearly 40% since 2003.
- Workplace homicides declined 7%.
- Top causes of worker deaths were transportation incidents (39%), assaults and violence (18%), and contact with objects and equipment (16%).
- Texas had the largest number of worker deaths (456) followed by California (302), Pennsylvania (219) and Florida (215). New Hampshire had the fewest (5).
The number of fatalities doesn’t always decrease from year to year. Overall, it’s estimated 14,000 workers died per year in the U.S. before OSHA was created in 1971, so there’s been a large improvement since then.
Given these statistics, here are the questions: How much effect does OSHA have on the number of worker fatalities? Since 12 workers die per day, on average, in the U.S., do you think more new and updated OSHA regs are needed? What is the best thing OSHA can do (if anything) to reduce worker deaths? Let us know in the comments below.