Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Shows Rise in Work-Related Deaths

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On December 17, 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data from the 2018 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) that showed there were 5,250 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2018, a 2 percent increase from the 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in 2017. The fatal work injury rate remained unchanged at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

The 2018 CFOI revealed that transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40 percent of all work-related fatalities. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals were next at 828, followed by fatal falls, slips, and trips at 791, incidents involving contact with objects and equipment at 786, and exposure to harmful substances or environments at 621.

Driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the most fatalities of any occupation group at 966. Among all detailed occupations, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most fatalities at 831. In 2018, logging workers, fishers and related fishing workers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, and roofers all had fatality rates more than 10 times the all-worker rate of 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 FTE workers.

In 2016, the CFOI began identifying fatal occupational injuries to independent workers that are involved in a work relationship that is finite and involves a single task, short-term contract, or freelance work. In 2018, there were 621 fatal injuries to independent workers, up from 613 in 2017. Independent workers comprised 12 percent of all fatal injuries in 2018, led by heavy and tractor trailer-truck drivers at 96.

As for the states with the most fatal occupational injuries in 2018, Texas led with 488, followed by California with 422, Florida with 332, New York with 271, Georgia with 186, Illinois with 184, North Carolina with 178, and Pennsylvania with 177. The state with the fewest fatal incidents was Rhode Island with 9. As for gender of victims of fatal occupational injuries in 2018, men led women by far 4,837 to 413.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) produces accurate and comprehensive counts of fatal work injuries. The CFOI is a Federal-State cooperative program that has been implemented in all 50 States and the District of Columbia since 1992. Data compiled by the CFOI are issued annually for the preceding calendar year. To learn more, visit www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.

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