Labor economists divided their research into three categories: workplace deaths by homicide, deaths resulting from falling on the job, a highway incidents — which are basically people who drive for a living being killed.
Bureau economist Cheryl Abbot gives us the good news.
“The fact that the total fatalities declined in 2010, that’s always good news. And it fell to the third lowest fatalities on record.”
Over all job related deaths in Texas dropped from 482 in 2009 to 456 (2010) last year. Abbot says there’s really no explanation for the rise and fall of the numbers year to year, except in certain categories.
“Sometimes you can definitely point to reasons, particularly in the construction industry. The more people you have employed in construction, that’s a pretty dangerous sector, despite all the many improvements over the years. And when construction is booming, we will typically see the number of fatalities go up.”
Of the three categories, the leading cause of job related deaths last year was highway incidents. Those numbers went up last year. But work related homicides went down. Abbot says that’s another category where it’s hard to give a reason for up and down changes.
“I’ve looked at those historically and it’s difficult to pin those on any particular factor, even whatever is going on in the economy.”
Abbot says they don’t do anything with the statistics; they just compile them and make them available to the public. She says industries or individual companies often use them to try and make their workplaces safer.