The number of Americans who died on the job fell to the lowest level since 1992 last year, dropping 17 percent to 4,340 across the country in 2009.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said economic factors played a role in the decrease. The recession during much of the year caused the total number of hours worked to decline by six percent in 2009. "And some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of fatal work injuries, such as construction, experienced even larger declines in employment or hours worked," which could explain the large drop, the agency said in a release.
Fatal work injuries in the construction sector declined by 16 percent, the agency said, while transportation-related deaths were the most frequent, responsible for 1,682 deaths in 2009, down from 2,130 in 2008.
Workplace suicides declined 10 percent from a previous high of 263 cases in 2008 to 237 cases in 2009. The number of U.S. workplace fatalities declined across all ages and sexes, except for workers under 16, where the death rate increased. Thirty-seven out of 50 states overall reported declining fatalities.