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Deaths from falls increase, but vehicles biggest cause of workplace deaths

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The number of U.S. workers killed on the job as a result of slips, trips and falls rose nearly 10% in 2014, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 647 fatal falls to a lower level last year compared with 595 in 2013, the bureau said in a statement.

Out of the fatal incidents where the height of the fall was known, more than 420 incidents involved falls of 30 feet or less, according to the statement.

In addition to the 8.7% increase in falls to a lower level, fatal falls on the same level increased 17.2% — from 110 in 2013 to 129 in 2014, the statement says.

Slips, trips and falls also include falls from collapsing structures or equipment and falls through surfaces or existing openings.

According to the bureau's preliminary data, 4,679 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2014, up 2% from the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013. Revised data for 2014 will be released next spring.

Meanwhile, transportation incidents represented 40% of fatal workplace injuries in 2014, up 1.4% from 2013, data shows.

Roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles accounted for the majority of all 1,891 fatal work injuries due to transportation incidents, the bureau said in the statement, adding that the number of reported roadway incidents is expected to rise when updated 2014 data is released.

Pedestrian vehicular incidents, including pedestrians struck by vehicles in work zones, accounted for 17% of deaths in the transportation category, the statement says. There were 313 fatalities as a result of pedestrian vehicular incidents in 2014, up 6.5% from 2013's revised count.

The number of fatal work injuries among women also increased last year, rising 12.5% to 359 from 319 in 2013, according to the data. Even so, women accounted for only 8% of all fatal occupational injuries in 2014. Similar to previous years, 92% of all fatal occupational injuries involved men.