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Indiana workplace deaths up slightly last year

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A new report says the number of people dying on the job rose slightly in Indiana last year, to 122, the Indiana Department of Labor said Monday.

The preliminary number of workplace deaths for 2011 is one of the lowest recorded since the report’s inception in 1991, but it is up from the state’s preliminary number of 115 for 2010 and the final number of 118 fatalities.

The report shows the riskiest jobs in Indiana are related to driving, including commercial vehicles, automobiles, forklifts and construction equipment. Last year, half of all fatalities were transportation-related events. Nearly a third involved highway motor vehicle crashes.

Labor Commissioner Lori Torres said the 3-percent increase in fatalities "strongly suggests" that Indiana has much more work to do in the area of workplace safety.

Agriculture and mining saw a drop of 33 percent in fatalities in 2011, from 24 in 2010 to 16 in 2011. Manufacturing fatalities also decreased in 2011, from 14 to 13. Truck transportation fatalities increased by 54 percent, from 13 to 20.

The health care, social services and educational services sectors combined saw only one death from work injuries in 2011, compared to 14 total fatalities in 2010.

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