The number of workplace fatalities fell by 81 last year, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. In 2011, 4,609 U.S. employees died on the job, compared to 4,690 in 2010.
The fatality rate also fell, from 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers in 2010 to 3.5 per 100,000 in 2011.
Overall, the most common cause of workplace deaths was traffic accidents.caused 17% of the year’s deaths. Nearly a third of violent deaths were suicides.
Private-sector construction deaths were down for the fifth consecutive year, with 721 fatalities during the year, a 7% drop. The construction industry has made great strides in safety, with a 42% decline in workplace fatalities since 2006.
Note: The construction industry’s efforts show employers can make a big difference by constantly monitoring potential hazards and training employees to be aware of safety issues.