Oregon OSHA, 350 Winter Street NE Room 430, Salem, Oregon 97301-3878
For immediate release:
March 5, 2013
Melanie Mesaros, Public Information Officer
Oregon announces 2012 workplace deaths
Construction deaths up from 2010
(Salem) – Thirty people covered by the Oregon workers' compensation system died on the job during 2012, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today. It's a slight increase from last year but remains significantly lower than counts of past decades.
The year 2010 marked the state's all-time low of 17 deaths. That figure was likely tied, in part, to the economic downturn. In 2011, there were 28 deaths and, in 2009, 31 people died on the job.
On-the-job injuries have been on the decline in recent decades. In the 1990s, there was an average of 55 workplace deaths per year. In the 1980s, the average was 81 deaths. The statewide rate of reported workplace injuries and illnesses has also decreased more than 50 percent since the late 1980s. Oregon started tracking workplace deaths in 1943.
"As the economy continues to recover and more jobs are added, we must remain committed to workplace safety and health," said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. "Sadly, as the numbers show, not every Oregonian comes home to their family after a day at work. We must continue to work hard to change that."
Trucking/transportation and construction saw the largest concentration of deaths in 2012, with five each. That trend is consistent with past figures illustrating the high-risk nature of those sectors. No construction deaths occurred in 2010, which may relate to job losses that year, while three deaths were reported in 2011 as the economy improved.
"While the numbers are still at historically low levels, we can't forget that each death represents an individual whose life was cut short," said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA, a division of DCBS. "These tragedies can be prevented by putting a greater focus on eliminating hazards in the workplace."
Oregon OSHA offers educational workshops, consultation services, training videos, and website information to help Oregon employers create or improve their safety and health programs.
Deaths that occur during a prior calendar year may appear in the compensable fatality count for a later year because of the time required to process a claim.
Complete data on all deaths caused by injuries in Oregon workplaces, regardless of whether they are covered by workers' compensation insurance, are computed separately and reported in the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2012 CFOI report is not expected for release until fall 2013.
The link to the full DCBS fatality report can be found here:
Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.
The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.