Georgia workplace deaths mirror economy

Workplace deaths in Georgia the last decade:

2003 – 199

2004 – 232

2005 – 200

2006 – 201

2007 – 193

2008 – 182

2009 – 110

2010 – 108

2011 – 111

2012 – 101

2013 – 70 (Preliminary data and likely to rise.)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Workplace deaths offer a morbid, yet reasonably accurate indicator of Georgia’s, and the nation’s, economy. Construction and truck driving — mainstays of the Georgia economy — remain the most dangerous lines of work.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported this week that 4,405 private-sector and government workers nationwide died on the job last year, down from 4,628 deaths the previous year. Fatalities (3,929) in the private sector alone notched the lowest annual total since the survey was first conducted in 1992.

Georgia tallied only 70 workplace deaths last year, but the amount is expected to rise once all transportation-related fatalities are tallied early next year. In 2012, 101 Georgians died on the job, the BLS reported, less than half the pre-recession peak.

While the economy has grown slowly since the recession’s end five years ago, the number of fatalities has remained fairly static in Georgia. Residential construction remains well-below the pre-recession peak, for example, which reduces the likelihood of serious injury or death.

Other highlights of the BLS report:

- Transportation, including farm accidents, account for 40 percent of all deaths nationwide.

- Fatalities among Hispanic or Latino workers rose 7 percent nationwide in 2013.

- 734 contract workers died last year, up from 715 the year before and they accounted for 17 percent of all deaths.

- Homicides, suicides and death by animal accounted for 753 fatalities. Work-related suicides rose 8 percent from 2012. Homicides fell 16 percent. Guns accounted for 80 percent of the homicides.