The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its latest annual report on occupational injuries, which serves, among other things, to alert companies to the hazards of certain jobs.
There were a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2016, a 7 percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015.
This is the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) since 2008. The fatal injury rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.4 in 2015. It is the highest rate since 2010.
Type of Incident
Work injuries involving transportation incidents remained the most common fatal event in 2016, accounting for 40 percent (2,083) of all fatal injuries. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 23 percent to become the second-most common fatal event in 2016. Falls, slips, and trips was the third-most common fatal event; incidents increased by 6 percent in 2016 in comparison to 2015.
Two other events with large changes were exposure to harmful substances or environments, which increased 22 percent, and fires and explosions, which declined 27 percent.
- Logging workers continued to have a high fatal injury rate in 2016, at 135.9 fatalities per 100,000 FTE workers. The number of fatalities among loggers increased from 67 in 2015 to 91.
- A number of occupations recorded their highest fatality counts in 2016 since CFOI adopted the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system in 2003. These occupations included first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers with 134 fatal injuries; landscaping and groundskeeping workers, 125; roofers, 101; tree trimmers and pruners, 84; driver/sales workers, 71; automotive service technicians and mechanics, 64; and farmworkers, farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals, 61.
- Fatal work injuries among protective service occupations increased by 68 fatalities (32 percent) in 2016 to a total of 281. This included an increase of 24 fatalities among police officers, 13 fatalities among first-line supervisors/managers of law enforcement workers, and 23 fatalities among miscellaneous protective service workers, including crossing guards and lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers.
- Police officers incurred 51 homicides in 2016, up 50 percent from 34 fatalities in 2015.
Other Key Findings of the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
- Asian, non-Hispanic workers incurred 160 fatal injuries, up from 114 in 2015, which was the highest percentage increase (40 percent) among any race or ethnic origin. Black or African-American, non-Hispanic workers also had a large percentage increase (19 percent), with 587 fatal injuries compared to 495 in 2015. The rate of fatal injury for both groups also increased. Hispanic or Latino workers had 3 percent fewer workplace fatalities in 2016 with 879 fatalities, down from 903.
- Foreign-born workers accounted for about one-fifth of total fatal work injuries. Thirty-seven percent of these workers were born in Mexico, followed by 19 percent from Asian countries.
- Workers age 55 years and over had 1,848 fatal injuries, the highest number for this cohort since CFOI began reporting national data in 1992. In 1992, workers age 55 and over accounted for 20 percent of fatalities; in 2016, they accounted for 36 percent. These workers also have a higher fatality rate than other age groups.
- The number of workplace fatalities in private industry increased 7 percent in 2016. This was led by an increase in service-providing industries, which were up 13 percent to 2,702 from 2,399. Fatal workplace injuries to government workers increased 9 percent overall to 497, with a 9 percent decrease in federal employee fatalities that was more than offset by increases in state and local government fatalities, up 20 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
- Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction and manufacturing both experienced large decreases in workplace fatalities in 2016, decreasing 26 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
- Fatal injuries in the leisure and hospitality sector were up 32 percent (225 to 298) and reached an all-time series high in 2016. This was largely due to a 40 percent increase in fatal injuries in the food services and drinking places industry from 118 to 165.
- A total of 36 states had more fatal workplace injuries in 2016 than 2015, while 13 states and the District of Columbia had fewer; Wyoming had the same number as 2015.