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Fatal Occupational Injuries: The Stats

Posted on January 29, 2024

Deadly injuries are on the rise in U.S. workplaces, according to the just-released Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There was a 5.7 percent increase of fatal work injuries from 2021 to 2022, the latest year for which the bureau has statistics.

There were 5,486 deadly work injuries in 2022, which is one every 96 minutes. By comparison, there were 5,190 fatalities in 2021, or one every 101 minutes. The fatal work injury rate in 2022 notched up to 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.6 in 2021.

Workers in transportation and material moving jobs suffered the most fatalities—1,620 in 2022, up from 1,523 the previous year. There were 14.6 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2022. Construction and extraction occupations had the second most deaths in 2022, at 1,056, not far behind transportation. The fatality rate for construction/extraction rose from 12.3 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers in 2021 to 13 fatalities per 100,000 in 2022. That’s more than the rate of fatalities in protective service work, such as police, which came in at 10.2 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers.

Causes of deaths also were ranked, with transportation incidents the most frequent type of deadly event, accounting for 37.7 percent of all work-related fatalities. There were 2,066 fatal injuries in transportation in 2022, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2021. Roadway incidents increased 9.3 percent from 2021 to 2022. Temperature extremes rose 18.6 percent from 2021 to 2022, from 43 to 51 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers. Contact with objects and equipment accounted for 738 deaths in 2022, the highest count for this category since 2018. Slips, trips, and falls increased 1.8 percent from 850 to 865 fatalities. More than 80 percent of slips, trips, and falls occurred at lower levels.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics had similar findings to the AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report released earlier this year. Of note was that black and Hispanic workers are at greatest risk for work-related fatalities. At 4.2 and 4.6 per 100,000 full-time workers respectively, black and Hispanic workers were higher than the national average of 3.7.

It is critical that employers who fail to adhere to workplace safety and health laws be held accountable when workers are injured. If you have been hurt in an unsafe workplace, you may be able to hold your employer accountable, and receive recompence beyond workers’ compensation. Contact a top OSHA-rated construction accident attorney in Philadelphia who can help present your best case.