Fatalities from work-related accidents came to 1,889 last year, down 103, or 5 percent, from the year before, according to a government report released Thursday.
It was the second-lowest figure after the 1,844 marked in 1998, and the third straight year in which the tally has been below 2,000, the report says.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said the fall in work-related accidents reflects the stagnant economy as well as improvements in workplace safety.
Of last year’s deaths, 731 were in the construction industry, 323 in the manufacturing sector and 271 in the land transport industry, the report says, adding that these three sectors account for 70 percent of total deaths.
The construction sector accounts for 39 percent and was down 63 from 1999.
Of the total, 590 died in traffic accidents and 453 in falls, accounting for 55 percent of the death toll.
The report says there were 230 cases in which more than three people died in a single accident, up 16 from the previous year.
Work-related death tolls have been declining in Japan since hitting a peak in 1961 at 6,712, the ministry said. The figure broke the 3,000 level in 1981 and fell to less than 2,000 in 1998.
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