OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
America's workplaces are safer than ever. With employment at an all-time high, it is especially heartening to see a three percent drop in job-related fatalities. That is good news for every employer and worker. And it's good news for every family that sends a bread winner into the workplace and waits for him or her to come home safe and whole at the end of the day.
We take special note of the drop in workplace homicides. Still the second leading cause of death on the job, following highway crashes, workplace homicides fell to the lowest level in seven years. A significant drop in homicides occurred in retail trade, reflecting heightened awareness brought about by the combined efforts of industry and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued recommendations in 1998 for preventing workplace violence in late-night retail.
For our youngest workers, agricultural employment remains the most dangerous. That is why we will continue with aggressive enforcement, creative education efforts and innovative partnerships with this industry to ensure safe and healthy employment for our youth. This is one of my top priorities as labor secretary.
While we celebrate the decline in worker deaths, far too many workers are still dying on the job. The number of fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents and electrocutions are at their highest levels since the Bureau of Labor Statistics' fatality census began seven years ago. Equally disturbing is the continued high number of fatalities for construction workers and truck drivers whose hard work too often leads to early graves.
As we near the close of this century, we are reminded that the progress we have made is significant but not enough. America is the strongest, richest and most powerful nation on earth, thanks in large measure to the vitality of her workers. Protecting their safety and health safeguards the well being of our nation.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at: http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 219-7316.
Editor's Note: The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 1998.
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