Final numbers are expected next week, but an initial tally shows 59 workplace deaths in 2008, compared with 45 in 2007.
The total marks the first increase in four years, officials said.
Department of Labor spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry said officials worry that companies could be cutting corners and making their workplaces more dangerous in the tight economy. Training and safety measures are often among the first things cut from budgets, she said, noting officials are trying to ensure that employers train their workers.
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