SALEM - Forty-four people died on the job in Oregon in 2008, nine more than died in 2007, according to information from the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

The total only includes people the Oregon's workers' compensation system covered. While the 2008 total is an increase from 2007's 35 fatalities, the 2008 figure includes eight workers a firefighting helicopter crash killed in the Northern California wilderness. The eight workers were among 15 who died in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.

The second highest concentration of deaths was in truck transportation, which had six. Overall, motor vehicle crashes killed 12 people- more than 27 percent of the total.

The numbers also show five workers died on construction jobs in 2008, a drop from the 12 who died in 2007 in construction.

Historically, the lowest number of workers killed on the job was in 2005, when 31 fatalities occurred. There was an average of 55 workplace deaths per year in Oregon in the 1990s and 81 per year in the 1980s.

The annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, a product of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compiles complete data on all deaths caused by injuries in Oregon workplaces, regardless of whether workers' compensation insurance covers them. The federal agency doesn't expect to release the 2008 CFOI report until the fall of 2009.

- Phil Wright

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