Massachusetts experienced its biggest increase in worker deaths in four years last year, as on-the-job deaths increased by 65 percent to 81 people in 2003, up from 49 people in 2002, according to the Boston Globe.

A report released this week by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO was compiled using data gathered by the state Department of Public Health and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO attributed the increase in fatalities to inadequate safety precautions, poor training and staff reductions at OSHA.

The report’s findings appeared in the union federation's annual study, "Dying for Work in Massachusetts: The Loss of Life and Limb."

The average fine in Massachusetts for an employer in serious violation of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act was $950 last year, the report said. In addition, the average fine assessed an employer with workplace violations that resulted in the death of an employee was $10,770.