Revised BLS 2006 Stats Point to Rise in Workplace Deaths

Revised figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on workplace fatalities in 2006 indicate that the numbers were higher than previously thought. The final count of 5,840 fatalities signals an increase of 2 percent in the overall occupational fatality rate between 2005 and 2006.

In August 2007, BLS released its preliminary figures, which indicated that there were 5,703 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2006, a decrease of 1 percent from a workplace fatality count of 5,734 in 2005.

Fatalities for Hispanic workers rose by 53 cases from the preliminary figure, bringing the total number for that group to 990 fatal work injuries. This increase pushed the rate of fatal injury for Hispanic workers to 5.0 per 100,000 employed workers, up from the previously reported rate of 4.7 per 100,000 employed workers for 2006. Initial 2006 figures for Hispanic workers had showed that the number of all workplace fatalities had decreased.

The number of fatal work injuries involving foreign-born workers also increased, from 997 cases to 1,046 cases as a result of the updates. Of the 1,046 cases involving foreign-born workers, 667 involved Hispanic or Latino workers. Both the foreign-born total and the Hispanic foreign-born total were new highs for the series.

Fatal occupational injuries in California increased by 89 cases from the preliminary figure. As a result, California surpassed Texas as the state with the highest number of fatal work injuries in 2006. The totals for Oregon (up by 15), Georgia (9) and Florida (5) also increased. Overall, 15 states reported increases as a result of the update process.

Fatalities in the transportation and material moving industry were up by 38 deaths, the largest revision in fatalities among the industries. It was followed by construction and extraction occupations (15 fatalities).

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