Transportation Accidents Leading Cause of Death for Virginia Workers

Transportation accidents are the leading cause of death among Virginian workers, contributing to the 9 percent rise in fatalities in 2005, according to the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). Traffic accidents are the leading cause of occupational fatalities nationwide, as well.

In cooperation with the Labor Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Virginia DLI department put together the Virginia Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Report, which revealed there were 186 occupational deaths in the state in 2005, which was a significant increase from the 171 deaths reported in 2004.

Despite making up 37 percent of all work-related deaths and continuing to be the leading cause of workplace fatalities, transportation accidents accounted for 69 deaths in 2005, which was a decrease from 84 deaths in 2004.

There were 35 deaths that resulted from workers being in contact with objects and equipment, which accounted for 19 percent of work-related deaths in 2005. Falls to a lower level accounted for 33 deaths, the largest number of fatal falls since 1992. Assaults and violent acts contributed to 22 fatalities, which was an increase from 17 deaths in 2004.

Work-related fatalities from exposure to harmful substances or environments, mainly due to contact with electrical current, resulted in 21 deaths, or 11 percent of total occupational fatalties.

The private construction industry had the highest number of fatalities of any industry sector, accounting for 50 deaths or more than one-fourth of the total number of fatalities. Transportation and warehousing followed with 25 deaths.

Occupations such as truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer drivers, farmers and construction laborers were labeled as being the more dangerous occupations, as they accounted for more than one-third of workplace fatalities.

"We continue to be concerned with the number of work-related fatalities we see occur in Virginia," said Labor and Industry Commissioner C. Ray Davenport. "The increase means we must continue to be vigilant in addressing workplace hazards."

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