U.S. Workplace Deaths Increased in 2016

December 20th, 2017 by Editor

A total of 5,190 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2016. That’s a 7-percent increase from 2015, according to the latest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The fatal injury rate also increased from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016.

“The occupational fatality data show a tragic trend with the third consecutive increase in worker fatalities in 2016 – the highest since 2008,” said Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “America’s workers deserve better. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is committed to finding new and innovative ways of working with employers and employees to improve workplace safety and health. OSHA will work to address these trends through enforcement, compliance assistance, education and training, and outreach.”

There were 991 deaths in construction in 2016, up from 937 in 2015. Of that total, 631 fatalities were involved in the specialty trades, which includes workers who install doors and windows.

Manufacturing saw 318 deaths in 2016, a decrease from 353 in 2015.

Workers age 55 years and over had 1,848 fatal injuries, the highest number since data collection for the  Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries began in 1992. These workers have a higher fatality rate than any other age group.

Transportation incidents were the leading cause of death in 2016, accounting for 2,083 fatalities, or about one out of every four deadly injuries.

Workplace violence injuries increased by 23 percent, making it the second-most-common cause of death in the workplace.

Additionally, the number of deadly overdoses on the job increased by 32 percent, from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016. The number of drug-related fatalities has increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.

Fatal work injuries from falls, slips or trips increased 6 percent to 849 in 2016. They’re up 25 percent overall since 2011. Falls increased more than 25 percent in 2016 for carpenters, roofers and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

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