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Fatal Work Injuries Up in the U.S.

 Oct 2015

A preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries has been recorded in the United States in 2014, an increase of 2 per cent over the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013, according to the latest Census of Fatal occupational Injuries (CFOI) released by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The Census, part of the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics (OSHS) program, provides a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. For the 2014 data, over 19,800 unique source documents were reviewed as part of the data collection process.

BLS LogoBelow is a summary of the key findings:


Construction fatalities rose to 874 in 2014, up from 828 in 2013, marking the highest reported total for the industry since 2008.

In the private sector, a total of 4,251 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2014, 4% higher than the revised total of 4,101 in 2013.

Goods producing industries were up 9% in 2014. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting fatalities were up 14% from 2013 and had the highest fatal injury rate of any industry sector with 24.9 fatal work injuries per 100,00 FTE workers. Totals were also higher for mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (up 17%) and manufacturing (up 9%).

In service-providing industries, transportation and warehousing accounted for 735 fatal work injuries in 2014, almost unchanged from the revised 2013 count of 733 fatalities, while financial activities rose 31 percent, and wholesale trade fatalities fell 11%.


Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for the largest share of fatal occupational injuries of any occupation group with 28%. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers accounted for nearly 2 out of every 3 fatal injuries in this group (835 of the 1,289 fatal injuries in 2014).

Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations increased 5% to 885, making it highest total for this occupation group since 2008.

The number of fatal work injuries among protective service occupations decreased 15% in 2014 to 211 fatalities, a series low for this occupation group. This was led by a drop in fatalities among firefighters and first-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers, down 51% to 35 in 2014. Fatal injuries to police officers and first-line supervisors of police and detectives, however, increased 17 percent to 103 in 2014.

Fatalities among farming, fishing, and forestry occupations rose 9% to 253 fatal injuries.

The number of fatal occupational injuries incurred by contracted workers made up 17% of all fatal injuries. Over half of those contracted workers (415 workers) were working in construction and extraction occupations when fatally injured and were most often employed as construction labourers (108); electricians (48); first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (44); roofers (42); and painters, construction and maintenance (25).

Among contracted workers who were employed outside the construction and extraction occupation group, the largest number of fatal occupational injuries was incurred by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (76 workers); landscaping and grounds keeping workers (21); security guards (17); tree trimmers and pruners (16); heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers (15); and excavating and loading machine and dragline operators (13).

Type of incident

Transportation incidents accounted for 40% of fatal workplace injuries in 2014, these include; roadway incidents, pedestrian vehicular incidents and rail vehicle incidents.

Fatal falls, slips, and trips were up 10% from the previous year, while work work-related injury deaths due to contact with objects and equipment were down slightly from the revised 2013 number (721 to 708).

The largest proportion of fatal injuries in this category occurred when workers were struck by falling objects or equipment.

Fatal work injuries due to fires decreased 35%; however fatal injuries resulting from explosions increased 25%, led by an increase in explosions of pressure vessels, piping, or tires.

Worker characteristics

Fatal injuries to self-employed workers rose 10 percent in 2014 to 1,047. Although higher than in 2013, the 2014 preliminary total for self-employed workers is about the same as the 10-year average for the series. Fatal injuries among wage and salary workers remained at about the same level as in 2013.

Fatal work injuries involving workers aged 45-54, 55- 64, and 65+ all increased in 2014 compared to 2013 totals. The number of workers 55 years and over who were fatally injured in 2014 increased 9 percent to 1,621, the highest annual total since the inception of the fatality census in 1992.

Consistent with previous years, men accounted for 92 percent of all fatal occupational injuries. Fatal injuries among women rose 13% to 359 from 319 in 2013.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program uses diverse state, federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries to ensure counts are as complete and accurate as possible. Revised 2014 data from CFOI will be released in the late spring of 2016.


To read the full National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 2014 summary click here.


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