Indiana has become a safer place to work, based on preliminary numbers from the states Labor Department.
The agency said Thursday there were 113 worker deaths in 2012 – the fewest since officials began tracking the information in 1992.
It really is a combination of things, said Bob Dittmer, DOL spokesman. Its companies, unions, employees all working together to create a culture of safety.
Some key findings include:
About half of the occupational deaths reported last year were a result of a transportation-related case. More than half of the workplace transportation-related deaths reported in 2012 were attributed to a road crash involving vehicles.
Nearly all major Hoosier industry categories saw a reduction in workplace deaths last year.
The Hoosier manufacturing industry reported a 28 percent decrease in workplace deaths in 2012 – the most significant decline.
Although the state might rejoice over those numbers, a worker advocate questions just how improved safety standards are in Indiana.
Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen cautioned that Indianas figures are preliminary and are likely based on fewer Hoosiers working various high-risk occupations.
The numbers are guaranteed to change, said Keith Wrightson, a worker safety and health specialist with Public Citizen. I have to wonder about the improvements in manufacturing because Im guessing there are fewer manufacturing jobs, so there would be fewer deaths.
Wrightson said he is more concerned with Indianas rate of worker deaths, which he said is 4.5 deaths for every 100,000 workers, compared with the national average of 3.5 deaths.
Indiana, just like everybody else, still has work to do, Wrightson said.
Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Sean M. Keefer echoed that.
While we celebrate this achievement, we are reminded that Hoosier workers deserve a safe and healthy workplace, he said in a statement. We still have work to do to achieve a fully safe workplace environment statewide.