Worker Deaths Steady; On-The-Job Auto Fatalities Up

Workplaces are about as safe as they were at the beginning of this decade, but dying in a work-related auto accident is more likely, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), Itasca, Ill.

The NSC analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has reported that 6,218 people died on the job in the U.S. in 1997, compared to 6,217 in 1992. The review also shows traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the workplace, and have increased almost 20% in the last five years.

The NSC presented the analysis as both good news and bad news.

"Fatalities and injuries have not increased despite millions more jobs and 30% growth in the economy, and that is a real achievement," says Jerry Scannell, NSC president. "We could make much more progress reducing risk on the job, but too often businesses do not commit the energy and resources to make that progress."

The data review also reported that fatal injuries to women and workers 45 and older have increased; nonfatal injuries decreased by more than 500,000, to 6.2 million in 1996 from 6.8 million in 1992; and the construction industry had the greatest increase in deaths in the five-year period.

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