Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. issued the following statement about the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2005, released August 10. The number of workplace fatalities totaled 5,702 last year, down from 5,764 in 2004. The fatality rate also declined last year to 4.0 per 100,000 employees, down from 4.1 in 2004.

Fatal falls declined 7 percent last year from an all-time high recorded just a year earlier. Further, fatal work injuries among roofers dropped sharply, by 44 percent, and fatalities among women in 2005 (402) were the lowest annual total ever recorded by the census. While the number of fatalities among Hispanic employees edged up slightly last year due to increased employment of Hispanic workers, the actual fatality rate declined.

"Today's report is positive news for our nation and all workers," said Foulke. "The overall decrease in workplace fatalities is the third lowest annual total recorded since BLS began collecting this data. More importantly, this shows that more men and women were able to return home safely from their jobs.

"Many of our initiatives to reduce workplace fatalities are showing tremendous successes, but there is still more work to do. The data released today highlight areas where our resources must be focused in order to eliminate fatalities on the job. We remain committed to doing just that."