The number of deaths of workers covered by the Oregon workers' compensation system set a record low in 2005, according to Oregon News Online. Thirty-one workers died on the job during 2005, the lowest number reported since the state began tracking the statistic in 1943.
The 31 deaths is significantly lower than the 46 deaths in 2004 and the average of 55 deaths per year in the 1990s. During the 1980s, Oregon averaged 81 deaths per year. The previous record low of 34 was set in 2001.
"While we are pleased that more workers are returning home safely to their families at the end of the work day, there is still much work to do," said Cory Streisinger, director of the Department of Consumer & Business Services. "Employers, workers and government must stay focused on workplace safety and health so that the number of deaths at work continues to decline."
A total of eight deaths involved on-road motor vehicle accidents, making it the largest single category of fatalities. The industry with the most deaths (eight) was agriculture, forestry and fishing.
"Oregon's continued success in reducing worker deaths, reflected during recent years, shows that workplace safety and health management programs work," said Michael Wood, administrator of the DCBS Occupational Safety and Health Division. "But the numbers also remind us that the job is far from done. Too many of these deaths are not only preventable, but easily preventable if employers and their employees work together to ensure that workplace risks are reduced and, where possible, eliminated."