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Workplace deaths at 18-year low

Washington -- The number of U.S. workers killed from on-the-job injuries fell 17 percent last year, to the lowest in 18 years, the Labor Department said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4,340 fatal workplace injures in 2009 compared to 5,214 in 2008, the lowest number since the government began tracking workplace fatality statistics.

There were 3.3 fatal workplace injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2009, with highway accidents leading with 882 deaths. Construction reported 816 job-related deaths and commercial fishing, which only employed 31,000 workers last year, remains the most dangerous job with 200 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

"A single worker hurt or killed on the job is one too many," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in a statement Thursday. "While a decrease in the number of fatal work injuries is encouraging, we cannot – and will not – relent from our continued strong enforcement of workplace safety laws."

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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