WASHINGTON — In 2008, a total of 5,071 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S., down from a total of 5,657 fatal work injuries reported for 2007, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2008. While the 2008 results are preliminary, this figure represents the smallest annual preliminary total since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries program was first conducted in 1992.

Fatalities for the Animal Slaughtering and Processing category is fortunately a very low number compared to other categories, said a spokesman for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "There were 10 in 2008, 14 in 2007, 16 in 2006, 13 in 2005, 26 in 2004 and 19 in 2003," Gary Steinberg, Press Officer for The Bureau of Labor Statistics, told MEATPOULTRY.com.

"With every one of these fatalities, the lives of a worker's family members were shattered and forever changed. We can't forget that fact," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "While the decrease in the number of fatal work injuries represents change in the right direction, it does not lessen the need for strong enforcement to ensure that safety is a top priority in every workplace. In fact, today's report prompts us to step up our vigilance, particularly as the economy regains momentum."