Okla. Private Sector Job Deaths Decline During 2005

August 11, 2006

The Oklahoma Department of Labor reported that fatalities in private sector workplaces fell slightly in 2005. According to a report released by the DOL, Overall, 84 private sector job deaths were recorded in 2005, down two percent from 2004 and a drop of nine percent from 2003.

Transportation incidents remain the primary cause of job-related deaths, accounting for 60 percent of all workplace fatalities last year. In the public sector, transportation incidents resulted in all but one of the 11 recorded fatal workplace injuries. Falls and contact with objects or equipment each accounted for 10.5 percent of work-related deaths. Assaults and violent acts were responsible for nine percent of on-the-job fatalities.

“The inability to control both the type and severity of constantly changing workplace hazards surrounding transportation remains the biggest challenge for safety professionals,” said Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau. “Eliminating workplace hazards, as well as implementing safe work practices, remain the keys to preventing job-related injuries and deaths. Our efforts have been extremely effective in stationary workplaces. Defensive driving courses should be provided to all employees who are required to operate vehicles while working.”

Of the 57 transportation-related job deaths last year, 46 were the result of highway accidents. Of all transportation-related fatalities in 2005, vehicles were responsible in 56 of the 57 recorded incidents.
“Transportation-related deaths are found in almost every industry sector,” Reneau said. “The report shows transportation-related deaths in Mining, Construction, Trade Transportation and Utilities, Professional and Business Services and Government.”

Reneau sought legislation in 2006 to require defensive driver education and safety training for all public sector employees but the legislation never received a hearing. The 2005 public sector fatality statistics support the type of training outlined in the unsuccessful bill, HB 2828 by state Representative Lisa Billy.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics restricts information on deaths in any category in which the number is less than three,” Commissioner Reneau said. “Because of this, we can’t identify the circumstances for all 10 of the Public Sector transportation-related deaths. We do know, however, that three postal employees and four law enforcement officers died as a result of vehicle accidents.”

The Oklahoma Department of Labor conducts this annual survey under a contract with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. The report reflects 2005 fatal occupational injuries and illnesses, the last year for which complete data has been collected.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Labor

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