Despite a rise in violations, tougher enforcement of workplace regulations has reduced the number of on-the-job accidents in recent years, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Last year, the agency conducted 39,324 workplace inspections, citing 88,846 violations of standards and regulations, a six percent increase from 2006, the agency reported. These included 67,176 serious violations, up nine percent from the previous year, and 2,551 repeat violations.

"The significant increase in citations for serious and repeat violations documents OSHA's focus on identifying and eliminating severe hazards in the workplace," Edwin Foulke, the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said in a statement.

Despite the increase in citations, fatality and injury rates continued to decline, the agency said. For 2006, the agency reported a record-low workplace fatality rate of 3.9 per 100,000 employees. Injury and illness rates also dropped to an all-time low of 4.4 per 100,000 employees.

Among other factors, the agency credits a "strong, fair and effective enforcement program" on reducing workplace risks.