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Occupational Death Rates Increase for Construction Workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' recent release of its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries said a total of 8,786 fatal work injuries were reported in 2001, including 2,886 attributed to the terrorist incidents of September 11, 2001. While the numbers of 2001 were inflated because of terrorism, workers are dying from injuries and illnesses that are still far too common.

Overall, the bureau reported that the 2001 fatality rate was essentially unchanged from 2000. Excluding those fatalities attributed to the terrorist attacks brings the total workplace fatality count to 5,900 for 2001. That calcuation shows occupational deaths down slightly--less than one percent--from 2000. As a result, the report calculates the fatality rate as the same for both years: 4.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

Deaths increased among construction workers, Hispanic and Latino workers and those dying from falls. Construction deaths were at their highest level since 1992, up 6 percent over 2000 to 1,225. There were significant drops in worker fatalities in manufacturing, from homicides and among youth.

On the state level 26 states plus the District of Columbia had fewer fatal work injuries in 2001 than in 2000, while seven states had an increase of 25 or more workplace fatalities.


For the third consecutive year, the total number of occupational fatalities increased in the State of Wisconsin. The greatest number of fatalities occurred in the agricultural/forestry industry. As the table below shows, fatalities in the manufacturing and construction trades increased by 58.3% and 41.7%, respectively.

INDUSTRY 2001 2000 1999 1998
Construction 17 12 18 14
Manufacturing 19 12 16 12
Agriculture/Forestry 27 25 22 20