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Labor Dept: Fewer workers killed on job in 2007

    WASHINGTON — The number of workers killed on the job annually dropped to a historic low in 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Wednesday.
    The number of worker deaths dropped to 5,488 last year — the fewest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping track in 1992. That’s down 6 percent from the 5,840 deaths reported in 2006.
    Still, the government found significant increases in some types of fatal injuries: a record number of workers died from falls and the number of workplace homicides increased 13 percent.
    The nation’s most dangerous jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? Fishers and related fishing workers (with a rate of 111.8 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers), logging workers (86.4), aircraft pilots and flight engineers (66.7) and structural iron and steel workers (45.5).
    Construction continued to have the most deaths of any private sector industry, with 1,178 in 2007.
    The overall U.S. rate was 3.7 fatal injuries for every 100,000 workers, the lowest annual rate ever reported by the fatality census.
    ‘‘This is continued evidence that the initiatives and programs to protect workers’ safety and health, designed by and implemented in this administration, are indeed working,’’ Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said.
    The number of fatal falls on the job rose to a record 835 in 2007, even though the number of deadly falls from roofs decreased.
    Workplace homicides also increased 13 percent, to 610, in 2007 after officials recorded an all-time low in 2006.
    While the construction industry had led the nation’s private sector for five years in a row in workplace fatalities, the number of deaths in that industry dropped from 1,239 in 2006 to 1,178 in 2007, a 5 percent decrease.
    The 2007 numbers show that there were 10.3 fatal work injuries for every 100,000 construction workers.
    The construction industry has had several deadly crane accidents this year, including one in Houston this month that killed four workers and injured seven. Crane-related deaths have also occurred in New York, Miami and Las Vegas.
    The numbers are preliminary, with a final report on 2007 due next year.

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