TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The number of Indiana workers killed in on-the-job incidents rose slightly in 2011, according to preliminary numbers released this week by the state Labor Department.
In all, the state reports 122 fatal occupation injuries for the year, up from 118 in 2010.
State officials report a 54 percent increase in the number of deaths in the state's trucking industry, with a total of 20 workers killed.
At the same time, the state also reported a 33 percent drop in the number of people killed in the state's agriculture and mining industries, with 16 people killed. The number of workers in healthcare, education and services who were killed dropped from 14 in 2010 to one in 2011.
Despite the year-to-year variations, experts in workplace safety say deaths on-the-job have declined steadily over the past few decades.
"There's certainly been a downward trend, both in the total numbers of fatalities and certainly in the rates of fatalities," said Ernest Shelton, who teaches safety at Indiana State University. "We're seeing companies that have seen the value of keeping employees safe, and a lot of times, it's to protect their pocketbook."
Shelton said fatalities in farming have dropped significantly, since fewer people farm and equipment has become sturdier.
"I think a couple things have happened: we're trending to fewer and fewer farms that are bigger farms with bigger equipment," Shelton said.
To view more information on workplace fatalities, click here.
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