August 27, 2009
In 2008, transportation incidents accounted for 2,053, or 40 percent, of the 5,071 occupational work fatalities. Most kinds of transportation fatalities saw decreases relative to 2007.
Assaults and violent acts claimed 794 lives in 2008, down from 864 in 2007. Workplace suicides were up 28 percent to a series high of 251 cases in 2008, but workplace homicides declined 18 percent in 2008. The 2008 preliminary workplace homicide count (517 workplace homicides, down from 628 in 2007) represents a decline of 52 percent from the high of 1,080 homicides reported in 1994.
The 680 fatal falls in 2008 represent a 20-percent decline from the series high of 847 fatal falls in 2007.
The number of fatal work injuries involving fires and explosions was up 14 percent in 2008; fatalities involving contact with objects or equipment were also up slightly in 2008.
Economic factors likely played a role in the fatality decrease. Average hours worked at the national level fell by one percent in 2008, and some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of worker fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger declines in employment or hours worked.
These data are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, part of the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2008" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL 09-0979. Data for the most recent year are preliminary.