Some jobs are just more dangerous than others. The next time you see someone driving a Sysco
Courtesy of the nice folks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), here are some statistics on fatal occupational injuries in 2002:
- 2002 saw only 5,524 fatal work injuries (4.0 per 100,000 workers), the lowest figure ever recorded since the BLS commenced its fatality census in 1992.
- The most common fatal workplace event was a highway accident, which caused about 25% of the deaths.
- Workplace homicides were down roughly 5% in 2002 over 2001 (609 vs. 643) and down 44% from 1994's high water mark of 1,080. Workplace suicides also declined in 2002.
- 714 people died at work from falls (such as from ladders or nonmoving vehicles).
- Deaths due to exposure to harmful substances or environments rose 8% in 2002. This category is fairly broad, including heat stroke and electrocutions.
- The industry with the highest fatal accident numbers was construction, while mining had the highest fatal accident rate (23.5 per 100,000 workers). Others in the top group were agriculture/forestry/fishing and transportation/public utilities.
- The highest number of fatal work injuries by occupation in 2002 happened to operators, fabricators, and laborers (including construction workers). The total, 1,895, represents about a third of all fatal work injuries, though the number has been declining. Fatalities also declined among machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors. One-fifth of the total injuries happened to precision production, craft, and repair workers. Among construction workers, those with increased fatalities were roofers, electricians, brick masons, and painters.
- The occupation that reported the most fatal injuries was truck drivers, with 808 fatal work injuries.
Foolish investors can heave a sigh of relief that in general, the CEOs leading the fine companies we invest in don't appear to be in a greatly endangered occupation. Still, great companies don't become and remain great solely due to CEOs. If the more dangerous industries could somehow make their operations safer, there might be win-win results: more living employees, coupled with less turnover, less training, and higher morale.
For much more economic and labor-related information than you could ever hope to digest, visit the BLS website.
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