More on occupational fatalities below the fold.
April 28 is also the day in 1971 that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established. Its role and the role of state-run operations like Cal/OSHA in California is to improve workplace conditions, set standards and enforce them, and provide training, education and assistance to help prevent workplace accidents and reduce health hazards.
As the chart above shows, there have been fewer workplace deaths over time, but thousands still die each year. Over the 20-year period of 1992-2011, 115,091 people in the United States were killed from injuries inflicted while at work. The annual total of occupational fatalities has fallen by 25 percent during that time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there is a long way to go in getting the numbers down. In some quarters, there is still considerable opposition to the whole idea of government "meddling" in private enterprise to protect lives.
Annual fatalities ranged from a high of 6,632 in 1994 to a low of 4,551 in 2009. These counts translate to an average of one worker fatality every 79 minutes in 1994, compared with an average of one every 115 minutes in 2009.
Nearly 72 percent of all fatally injured workers from 1992 to 2011 were White, non-Hispanic workers. Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 13 percent of those killed on the job.
While the annual total of fatal occupational injuries has decreased since 1992, the composition of that total has shifted. The most common event leading to a fatal occupational injury in both 1992 and 2011 was a roadway incident. Roadway incidents accounted for 19 percent of all occupational fatalities in 1992 and 24 percent in 2011. Homicides fell as a percentage of all fatalities over the 20‑year span, accounting for 17 percent of all work fatalities in 1992 and 10 percent in 2011. Falls to a lower level increased as a percentage of all fatalities, rising from 8 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2011. Contact with electricity accounted for 5 percent of fatalities in 1992 and 4 percent in 2011.