The number of construction workplace fatalities declined 4% in 2005, but the industry still has the largest number of deaths of any sector, according to the latest annual survey from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, released Aug. 10, says preliminary data show there were 1,186 construction deaths in 2005, down 4% from 2004's 1,234.But last year's total still was higher than the 1,131 fatalities recorded in 2003.

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  • Looking at construction sub-sectors, BLS, part of the Dept. of Labor, says the number of 2005 fatalities in residential building, utility system and highway construction all rose last year. But the bureau also says those increases were offset by declines in the specialty trade contractor segment, including a 44% decrease in the number of deaths in the roofing sector.

    Construction's fatality rate last year was 11.0 per 100,000 workers. The industries with the highest rates were agriculture, with 32.5, and mining, with 25.6.

    Across all industries, the total number of workplace fatalities was 5,702 in 2005, down 1% from the year before. Last year's fatality rate was 4.0 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared with 4.1 in 2004.