Overall last year, the number of U.S workplace fatalities fell 7% since 2011, but construction workplace fatalities rose 5% in 2012, the first annual increase in six years. "We can and must to better," urged Labor Secretary Tom Perez. "Job gains in oil and gas and construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable." States with notable increases include Texas and Wisconsin, while states that achieved workplace fatality declines include California and Illinois.

Of particular note: Falls are no longer the primary killer in construction. Transportation mishaps were the top cause of worker deaths in 2012, accounting for more than 40% of the fatalities, the data show. Homicides were linked to 11% of the deaths. Falls, slips and trips were responsible for 15%.