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Indiana workplace deaths rise slightly

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The number of Hoosiers who died on the job last year ticked up from the previous year. But the total still represents the second-fewest workplace fatalities since the federal government began tracking the statistic in 1992, the Indiana Department of Labor said today.

In 2008, 132 workers died on the job in Indiana, an increase of five from 2007, when the lowest number of workplace fatalities was recorded in Indiana. The 2008 total was 11 percent below the 10-year average.

Industries with the highest fatality rates last year were agriculture (22), construction (19) and manufacturing (18), the department said.

The transportation and warehousing sector, which typically leads the state in occupational deaths, recorded 16 deaths last year, its lowest number on record.

When combining all industries, transportation-related deaths were the leading cause of work-related deaths in Indiana, the department said. In 2008, 61 deaths were transportation-related, including 27 highway accidents and 14 in which workers were struck by vehicles.

The Department of Labor said it continues to increase its enforcement efforts to lower the number of workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. In 2008, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted nearly 2,000 workplace inspections, about a 70-percent increase from the previous year, the department said.
 

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