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The preliminary version of the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ (BLS) 2010 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) shows slightly improved numbers for workplace fatalities last year. Although the final version will not be released until the spring of 2012 after all statistics have been provided by participating governmental agencies, these initial numbers show a total of 4,547 fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2010, slightly less than the final count of 4,551 in 2009.

This reported decrease comes despite a slight uptick in total hours worked during 2010, in contrast to the declines in work hours recorded in both 2008 and 2009. Specifically, total hours worked for wage and salary workers increased slightly in 2010, but fell by nearly 2 percent for the self-employed. A similar trend was seen in workplace fatalities for these two groups: The number of fatal injuries among wage and salary workers increased by 2 percent in 2010; the number of fatal work injuries among the self-employed declined by 6 percent to 999 fatalities, more than the decline in their hours worked and the lowest annual total since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992.

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