dataThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data last week showing that the final count of fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2011 was 4,693 -- the third lowest annual total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992.

The overall fatal work injury rate for the U.S. in 2011 was 3.5 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down slightly from the final rate of 3.6 reported for 2010. The published fatal injury rate for 2011 equals the lowest rate reported by the program since the conversion to hours-based rates in 2006.

The final numbers reflect updates to the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) file made after the release of preliminary results in September 2012. Revisions and additions to the 2011 CFOI counts result from the identification of new cases and the revision of existing cases based on source documents received after the release of preliminary results.

Among the findings of the final tabulations:

• Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 12 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2011.

• Roadway incidents were higher by 28 cases (or 3 percent) from the preliminary count, bringing the total number of fatal work-related roadway incidents in 2011 to 1,103 cases.

• Workplace homicides were higher by 10 cases after the updates, bringing the workplace homicide total in 2011 to 468 cases. Work-related suicides increased by 8 cases.

• In the private construction sector fatal injuries increased by 17 cases from the preliminary count. The final fatal work injury total was down 5 percent from the final 2010 total and 2011 was the fifth consecutive year that fatal work injury totals have declined in this industry sector. The 2011 figure is also the lowest total for the private construction industry since CFOI began using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to define industry in 2003.

• The largest net increase in fatal work injuries among occupations involved drivers of tractor trailer or other heavy trucks. The total for this occupation rose from 656 cases to 670 after updates were added—an increase of 2 percent.