According to the Centers for Disease Control fewer and fewer Americans are perishing on the job due to accidents. They attribute this to a number of factors. There has been an expansion of service industries that are
relatively safe. Tougher worker-safety standards imposed under laws such as the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act. A reduction in or export of high-risk mining, metals and manufacturing jobs. An increase in the number
of working women whose accident rate is about a tenth that of men. A decline in the number of small farms where worker fatalities have always been high. Today’s workplaces are roughly 40,000 lives a year safer than they were in the 1930s, according to the CDC.
In earlier times on farms, fatalities fell after safer machinery and processes kicked in. In mines, 3,329 Americans died on the job from 1911 to 1915, whereas 159 miners died last year. It has been estimated that industrial workers died on average of 61 per 100,000 men in 1913. Yet, 4 per 100,000 is the most recent rate. Workplace deaths totaled 5,702 for 2005, about 200 shy of the all-time low in 2003. Decline of heavy industry, better safety equipment and OSHA enforcement are among the reasons the death toll has declined. It’s a long-term trend in workplace safety that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the nation’s top public-health authority, considers “one of the greatest health achievements in the 20th century.”