New Mexico workplace deaths way up in 2011

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The state Environmental Department says workplace deaths in New Mexico rose substantially in 2011.

The department says it logged a total of 51 deaths last year from 38 in 2010. The biggest increase was tallied among transportation workers, where 21 people were killed last year. That compares to just 12 transportation workers killed on the job in 2010.

A statement from deputy environmental department secretary Butch Tongate called the statistics a sobering reminder that workplace safety can't be taken for granted. He says the department works to help employees and workers identify and eliminate hazards that lead to fatalities but it is ultimately up to employers to promote a culture of safety.

The numbers were compiled from state and federal sources.