In a positive sign for workers’ compensation, life and health insurers, preliminary figures indicate that workplace fatalities are falling in the United States.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program said that a total of 5,071 deaths were recorded in 2008. The numbers are the lowest since the study was first conducted in 1992. By comparison, in 2007, a total of 5,657 fatal work injuries were reported.

The Bureau says economic factors likely played a role in the fatality decrease, as average hours worked at the national level fell by 1% in 2008. Moreover, industries that usually account for a significant share of fatalities, such as construction, were significantly impacted by the recession.

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