Work place deaths jumped close to 50 percent in Oregon last year. The new state numbers prompted one expert to say he’d failed.
Hundreds of Oregon’s safety inspectors were in a conference in Portland to hear the news. Michael Wood is the head of the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He says the 25 year trend of workplace deaths gradually dropping each year is not the case any more.
“I do not say that easily. I do not say that happily," Wood said. "For crying out loud, it’s my job to encourage those rates to go down. I’ve been here 11 years. And I stand before you today and I declare, that on some level, I have failed.”
61 people died on the job in Oregon last year - compared to 41 the year before.
The agency started counting deaths differently that year -- 2015. It included people who were self-employed, police and firefighters with the City of Portland, federal employees, and those killed while working for out-of-state employers.
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