Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said this week that 138 fewer workers died on the job in 2000 than in 1999, continuing the downward trend in work-related deaths, according to today's report on fatal occupational injuries by theBureau of Labor Statistics.

"Even one workplace fatality is too many," Chao said. "We've made a lot of progress, but this report points to where we need to do better. We want to promote compliance assistance and training to keep reducing workplace tragedies."

Fatal work injuries among truckers dropped 5%, however truck drivers were killed on the job more than any other occupation. The number of job-related deaths from highway incidents, the most frequent fatal work injury, declined for the first time since the fatality census was first conducted in 1992.

The bureau reported 566 people were killed in the trucking and warehousing industry, down from last year's 607, though it did not state whether or not these transportation industry deaths were in addition to those reported for truck drivers as an individual occupation.

Highway crashes was the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities in 2000, accounting for about a quarter of all fatal work injuries. Of the 852 truck drivers from all sectors killed on the job last year, 70% of them were killed in a highway collision, while 6% were killed when struck by an object, 2% by homicide and 2% from falls.