|Excluding deaths during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
the worker fatality rate remained relatively stable during 2001.
OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw called the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ newly released "Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries" for 2001 "a grim reminder to us all of the importance of job safety and health and the value of human life."
According to the BLS report, 8,786 workers died on the job in 2001—33 percent of them during the September 11 terrorist attacks. The 5,900 workers who died in incidents unrelated to the attacks brought the 2001 occupational fatality rate to 4.3 per 100,000 employed, virtually the same rate as in 2000.
"The good news is that there were significant drops in worker fatalities in manufacturing, from homicides, and among youth," Henshaw said. "But we have great concern over the increase in deaths among construction workers, Hispanic and Latino individuals, and those dying from falls.
Our challenge is to continue to improve our programs, fine-tune our systems, and work harder than ever to drive down the fatality numbers even further," he said. "We won’t stop until we are successful. You have my word on that." JSHQ
Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Tim Hammonds says, "Over the past decade, the food retail industry has taken the lead in reducing repetitive-motion injuries. We are pleased to answer OSHA Administrator John Henshaw's call to join in the development of guidelines and information, which our member companies may GATF use voluntarily to reduce injuries even further."
Mike Klun, Chairman of the poultry industry's Joint Safety and Health Committee, formed by the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation, says the industry looks forward to working with OSHA in developing ergonomic guidelines. "The poultry industry has extensive experience in ergonomics, and many companies already have guidelines in place," he says. "We can contribute the lessons we have learned in how to avoid ergonomic problems and how to deal with them when they occur."
The draft guidelines will be announced in the Federal Register and posted on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov for review and comment. Henshaw says they will ensure prevention, flexibility, and feasibility. This approach, he believes, will enable employers and worker s to tailor recommendations and best practices to their workplaces.
"We know that one size does not fit all, and this provides the flexibility needed to reduce injuries," he says.