NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Sharp Decline This Century in Job-related Deaths

June 11, 1999

Since 1913, the death rate from accidents on the job has declined by 90 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Work-related deaths have declined to 4 per 1000,000 workers in 1997 from 61 per 100,000 in 1913.
  • Although the work force grew from 38 million to about 130 million over that period, deaths from work industries fell from 23,000 to 5,100.
  • From 1911 to 1915, the average death rate in the mining industry was 329 per 100,000 -- a figure which fell to 25 per 100,000 in 1996-97.
  • Among steelworkers, there were 17 deaths nationwide in 1997, compared with 195 in 1906 and 1907 in one Pennsylvania county alone.

Industries with the highest average rates for fatal accidents today include mining, agriculture, forestry, fishing and construction. The leading causes of workplace deaths involve motor vehicles, homicides and machine-related injuries.

Source: AP, "Job-Related Deaths Fall by 90 Percent Since 1913," New York Times, June 11, 1999.


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