ASSE Prez Applauds Lower Fatality Rate

Michael Thompson, CSP, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), applauded the apparent drop in workplace fatalities as reported Aug. 9 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2006. He noted that we remain challenged and that even one fatality is too many.

"Our members everyday contribute to creating, through prevention efforts, a workplace that is injury- and illness-free. Business and labor must continue to work together with government to reach the ultimate goal of zero fatalities," Thompson said.

BLS reported that 5,703 people lost their lives while on the job in 2006. The report indicated the number one activity in the workplace that led to fatalities was once again transportation incidents. Fatal highway incidents remained the number one cause of on-the-job deaths claiming 1,329 lives, accounting for nearly one out of four fatal work injuries.

In all, 27 states reported higher fatality numbers in 2006, while 23 states and Washington, D.C. recorded lower totals. Texas had the highest number of worker fatalities with 486 followed by California with 448 and Florida with 355. The 12 states recording an increase in fatalities by 20 percent or more were Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

"We applaud those states that continue to see a drop in worker accidents and fatalities, such as Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Wyoming and the District of Columbia which recorded declines of 20 percent or more," Thompson said.

"Globally our members work everyday in a prevention mode to achieve the goal that everyone goes to and returns home from work safely every day," Thompson said. "They work in every industry and throughout the world. And every day we are looking for and implementing new and innovative ideas aimed at preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace," he added.

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