Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
News Release

Oregon OSHA, 350 Winter Street NE Room 430, Salem, Oregon 97301-3878

For immediate release:
March 2, 2012
Contact information:
Melanie Mesaros, Public Information Officer
Oregon announces 2011 workplace deaths
Figure second lowest in state history

(Salem) – Twenty-eight people covered by the Oregon workers’ compensation system died on the job during 2011, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today. It’s the second lowest number of deaths reported since the state started tracking workplace deaths in 1943.

The total is an increase from 2010’s all-time low of 17 deaths. That figure was likely tied, in part, to the economic downturn. In 2009, 31 people died on the job and in 2008 there were 45 deaths.

On-the-job injuries have been on the decline in recent decades. In the 1990s, there was an average of 55 workplace deaths per year. In the 1980s, the average was 81 deaths. The statewide rate of reported workplace injuries and illnesses has also decreased more than 50 percent since the late 1980s.

“The loss of any worker on the job is a tragedy,” said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. “While this year’s increase in worker deaths is modest, and still at historically low levels, we need to redouble our efforts to ensure safe workplaces for all Oregonians.”

Trucking and logging industries saw the largest concentration of deaths in 2011, with four each. That trend is consistent with fatalities in 2010.

“Success in reducing fatalities requires continued effort – and it’s a matter of winning the battle at each individual job site in Oregon,” said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA, a division of DCBS. “While the overall trend in deaths remains promising, we can’t forget the real tragedy for the family and friends of each of these individuals.”

Oregon OSHA offers educational workshops, consultation services, training videos, and website information to help Oregon employers create or improve their safety and health programs.

DCBS compiles fatality statistics from records of death claim benefits paid by Oregon workers’ compensation insurers during the calendar year. The data reported may exclude workplace fatalities involving self-employed individuals, city of Portland police and fire employees, federal employees, and incidents occurring in Oregon to individuals with out-of-state employers. These workers are either not subject to Oregon workers’ compensation coverage requirements or are covered by other compensation systems.

Deaths that occur during a prior calendar year may appear in the compensable fatality count for a later year because of the time required to process a claim.

Complete data on all deaths caused by injuries in Oregon workplaces, regardless of whether they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, are computed separately and reported in the annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) administered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2010 CFOI report is not expected for release until the fall of 2012.

The link to the full DCBS fatality report can be found here: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/imd/rasums/ra_pdf/wc/fatal/annual_rpt_11.pdf

Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.