Worker Deaths Decline Due To Recession, Not New Safety Regulations

NEW YORK -- The number of workplace-related deaths and injuries decreased slightly in 2009 according to the nation's largest labor union, but that's not because of any significant changes in safety regulations. Instead, the loss of jobs due to the recession has simply kept many employees away from the most harmful workplaces.

"You can't suffer workplace mortality if you're not working," said Bill Kojola, an industrial hygienist at AFL-CIO and one of the authors of the report. Many of the most deadly industries -- construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing -- were among the most decimated in the past several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, economic