Job-related deaths among Latino, contract workers rose in 2013

Final numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a total of 4,585 people died on the job that year

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One hundred eighty work-related deaths in 2013 were added to the federal government’s official tally Wednesday, updating preliminary numbers released last fall.

The corrected numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 4,585 people died from injuries sustained on the job, up from initial reports of 4,405 deaths. Even the revised number represents the second-lowest annual total of fatal injuries since 1992, the BLS said. That equates to about 3.3 deaths for every 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers — a slight decrease from the 3.4-per-100,000 death rate reported in 2012, and the lowest rate under the most recent method of reporting established in 2006.

The release is an update of preliminary data reported by the BLS in September. Every category — except workers 17 and younger — saw more deaths in the update. The overall increase in the final numbers is on par with historic trends.

According to the new data, most workers killed on the job in 2013 — 1,865 — died in transportation accidents; 721 died via contact with objects and equipment; 724 died from falls, slips or trips; and 335 died from exposure to harmful substances or environments. Violence — either homicides or suicides — accounted for 773 deaths.

Thirty-two more deaths were added to the private construction sector, for a total of 828 — the most in the sector since 2009, according to the BLS. Workers classified as Hispanic or Latino accounted for 817 deaths in 2013, or roughly 3.9 deaths for every 100,000 full-time equivalent employees. That’s the highest total since 2008. Seven hundred and eight Hispanic workers died in 2012. (The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, a nonprofit advocacy group, offers resources for Spanish-speaking workers.)

The new data show that 749 contract or temporary workers — employed by one firm, but working under the guidance of another — died in 2013. That number has increased steadily in recent years, going from 542 in 2011 to 715 in 2012. The Center for Public Integrity has reported on the dangers temporary workers face on the job and the corporate and regulatory factors that perpetuate the hazards.

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