A total of 5,559 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2003, a slight increase from the revised total of 5,534 fatal work injuries reported for 2002, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the increase, fatal work injuries for both 2003 and 2002 were the lowest ever recorded by the fatality census, which has been conducted each year since 1992. The rate at which fatal work injuries occurred in 2003 was 4.0 fatalities per 100,000 workers, unchanged from the rate reported for 2002.

Fatal work injuries resulting from highway incidents, falls and electrocutions were all lower in 2003 than in 2002. Fatal injuries involving homicides, fires and explosions, and being struck by objects increased.

Fatal highway incidents continued to account for the highest number of fatal work injuries. The 1,350 fatal highway incidents recorded in 2003 accounted for about one out of every four fatal work injuries.

The number of workplace homicides was higher in 2003 — the first increase since 2000. Despite the higher total, the 631 workplace homicides recorded in 2003 represented a 42 percent decline from the high of 1,080 workplace homicides recorded in 1994.

Fatal work injuries involving falls declined in 2003. The 691 fatal falls recorded in 2003 was the lowest total since 1996. The number of electrocutions also was lower. The 246 electrocutions in 2003 represented a decline of 15 percent from the 2002 total.

The 198 fatal work injuries resulting from fires and explosions in 2003 was 20 percent higher than the total recorded in 2002.