Oregon Worker Deaths in 2008

The Oregonian just published a story on the number of Oregon workers who died on the job. In 2008, 44 Oregonians died while working, up from 35 deaths in 2007. The largest percentage of the deaths took place in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries: 15 workers, including 7 firefighters who died in a helicopter crash and 7 loggers. Other dangerous industries included truck transportation and construction, though construction seemingly got safer, with deaths declining from 12 in 2007 to 5 in 2008. 2008 was Oregon’s deadliest year since 2004, when 45 workers died on the job.

Oregon’s Occupational Safety & Health Division (OSHA) believes education regarding workplace safety has helped improve worker death rates. In the 1980s, worker deaths numbered in the 80s each year. OSHA says they hope to continue seeing improvements and increased awareness in worker safety.

So what do you think? Has the workplace gotten safer? Are companies weighing the safety of their workers as much as they should? What improvements are needed?