Oklahoma workplace deaths increased last year, with highway incidents still the most common type of fatality, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There were 91 fatal occupational injuries in 2010, up from 82 in 2009, an 11 percent increase. Highway incidents accounted for 21 deaths, a sharp decline from 2009 when 34 workers were killed on highways.
The 2010 count is preliminary and the final data will be released next spring. Nationally, more than 4,500 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2010, about the same number as the final count in 2009.
State increase explained
While the increase in 2010 in Oklahoma was substantial, the number of fatalities was in line with 2002 through 2008 and it's actually the sharp decline in 2009 that is unusual, said Cheryl Abbot, a regional economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Dallas. Rising unemployment was likely the cause, she explained.
With fewer people working, it makes sense to have fewer injuries, Abbot said.