A weak economy was cited as a contributing factor in the decline of work-related fatalities in Connecticut last year. In 2011, there were a total of 36 deaths, a drop from 49 in 2010. The number of fatalities also falls below the 20-year average of 40 a year. Across the country, the number of work-related deaths remained about the same, as 4,690 people were killed on the job in 2010 and 4,609 died in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A research associate from the Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Statistics Unit said that a majority of the accidents in 2011 were single deaths, as only one accident resulted in two fatalities during the year. The researcher said that the poor economy translates into fewer people working, which, in turn, affects the number of on-the-job fatalities. In addition, industries with high fatality rates are ones that suffer the most during a recession, such as construction. Connecticut benefits from having many low-risk occupations.
The number of deaths in Connecticut in 2010 was high due to a murder-suicide of nine people at a warehouse in Hartford, and an explosion at an energy plant that killed six in Middletown.
Deaths in 2011 included a construction worker who fell off a roof, and a firefighter that had heart failure while en route to a call.
The number of workers killed in motor vehicle accidents rose slightly in 2011 - there were 13 such deaths in 2011, while only 11 in 2010. The number of on-the-job fatalities stemming from suicides or assaults fell in 2011, as there were 12 fatalities down from 17 in 2010. Another seven individuals were killed as a result of a slip and fall, which was an increase from five fatalities in 2010. Other fatalities included workers who were killed by accident or due to exposure to harmful substances.
In general, workplace deaths in Connecticut mirror what happens on a national basis. As an example, in 2011, transportation deaths increased both in the state and nationally.
Source: CT Watchdog, "Connecticut Workplace Deaths Decline in 2011, Weak Economy A Factor," Barbara Nagy, September 20, 2012.
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