With 37 Deaths, Oregon's 2006 Was Third-Best Total in 63 Years

Oregon recently said 2006, when 37 workers died in on-the-job incidents statewide, was the third-lowest number of compensable workplace deaths in the state's history. The best since the state began tracking workplace deaths in 1943 was 2005, when 31 workers died on the job. Oregon averaged 55 workplace deaths per year the 1990s and 81 deaths per year in the 1980s.

"Oregon employers and employees have worked together to improve workplace safety, which has resulted in a significant drop in workplace deaths over the years," said Cory Streisinger, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, which includes the Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Division (Oregon OSHA). "But 37 deaths is 37 too many. There still is much work to do to ensure that all Oregonians come home from work safely each day."

The leading activity in which 2006 workplace deaths occurred was logging (seven deaths), with truck transportation second (six deaths). Thirty-two percent of the deaths resulted from motor vehicle accidents, the department reported. "Motor vehicle accidents have been the leading cause of workplace deaths in Oregon in four of the past five years," said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. "At Oregon OSHA, we are increasing our efforts to help employers develop effective driver safety programs, which can prevent many of these accidents."

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