Claims for workers’ compensation death benefits were accepted for 46 people in Oregon during 2004, according to numbers released last week. That was an increase from the 41 claims accepted in 2003 but below the average of 55 claims per year accepted during the 1990s.
During the 1980s Oregon averaged 81 accepted fatality claims per year. The record low was set in 2001, when 34 claims were accepted.
“From a historical standpoint the number of workplace fatalities in Oregon remains low,” said Cory Streisinger, director of the Department of Consumer & Business Services. “But high or low, the numbers represent men and women who died too soon. Employers, workers, and government need to keep focused on that fact and make workplace safety a priority each and every day.”
The most recent figures available show that Oregon’s overall rate of workplace injuries and illnesses stood at 5.6 incidents per 100 full-time workers during 2003, down from the 2002 rate of 6.0 incidents.
The overall injury and illness rates encompass all workplace injuries and illnesses, including fatalities, that employers record and submit to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) when they are chosen to
participate in the bureau’s annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The survey is not limited to incidents that result in workers’ comp claims.
* A total of 13 deaths – the largest single category of fatalities – involved on-road motor vehicle accidents.
* The oldest worker to die was a 71-year-old log truck driver whose semi truck overturned and hit a tree.
* The youngest worker was a 16-year-old laborer employed by a kennel who died when he was thrown off an ATV.
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