Despite an increase in fatal work injuries during 2003, that year and the previous one were the lowest ever recorded by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has been conducting a fatality census each year since 1992. A total of 5,559 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2003, a small increase from the 5,534 reported for 2002. The rate at which fatal work injuries occurred in 2003 was 4 fatalities per 100,000 workers, unchanged from 2002′s rate.

Fatal work injuries resulting from highway incidents, falls, and electrocutions were lower in 2003, while those involving homicides, fires and explosions, and being struck by objects increased. Although fatal highway incidents were down in 2003 for the second consecutive year, they continued to account for the highest number of fatal work injuries. Incidents involving workers struck by vehicles or mobile equipment also were down in 2003, but the number of fatal work injuries involving non-highway transportation incidents (such as those that might occur on a farm or industrial premises) and aircraft-related incidents both were higher. Workplace suicides also rose in 2003.

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