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Fatal Work Injuries Increased Again in 2019, Non-fatal Injuries Remained Steady

Hospitality / Retail, Industrial / Construction, Medical / First Aid, Roadway / Transportation, Safety News

Newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that fatal workplace injuries increased 2 percent from 2018 to 2019, but non-fatal injuries were unchanged. A total of 5,333 workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S. in 2019 – the most since 2007. Another 2.8 million workers suffered nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.

The fatal work injury rate was 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, the same as 2018. Non-fatal workplace injuries remained constant from the previous year. The non-fatal incidence rate for in 2019 was 2.8 cases per 100 FTE workers, which matched 2018 and 2017. A total of 28 states had more fatal injuries in 2019 than in 2018, while 21 states had fewer. Alabama and the District of Columbia had the same number as 2018. Following is a review of key data from the studies.


12 Key Findings from the 2019 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • The 5,333 fatal workplace injuries in 2019 represents the largest annual number since 2007.
  • Nearly 1 out of every 5 fatally injured workers was employed as a driver/sales worker or truck driver. Events involving transportation incidents continued to account for the largest share of fatalities.
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to the deaths of 642 workers in 2019, the highest figure since the series began in 2011.
  • Fatal falls, slips, and trips increased 11 percent in 2019 to 880.
  • Fatalities among workers age 55 and over increased 8 percent from 1,863 in 2018 to 2,005 in 2019, which is the largest number ever recorded for this age group.
  • Fatalities in the private construction industry increased 5 percent to 1,061 – the largest total since 2007.
  • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers incurred 1,005 fatal occupational injuries, the highest since this series began in 2003.
  • Grounds maintenance workers had 229 fatalities in 2019 – the largest number since the series began in 2003.
  • Fatal occupational injuries among law enforcement workers fell 24 percent between 2018 and 2019 (from 127 to 97).
  • Construction and extraction occupations increased by 6 percent in 2019 to 1,066 – the highest figure since 2007.
  • Fishing and hunting workers had a fatal injury rate of 145.0 fatal work injuries per 100,000 FTEs in 2019.
  • Hispanic or Latino worker fatalities were up 13 percent to 1,088 in 2019 – a series high since 1992.

12 Key Points on Non-fatal Accidents in Private Industry in 2019:

  • There were 888,220 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that caused workers to miss at least one day of work in 2019, essentially unchanged from 2018.
  • The median number of days away from work in private industry in 2019 was 8 days, the same as 2018.
  • The healthcare and social assistance industry accounted for 1 in 5 injury and illness cases reported among private industry workers in 2019, with 575,200. Manufacturing had 421,400 cases, and retail trade recorded 395,700 cases.
  • Manufacturing accounted for 15.0 percent of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2019 and was the only sector where the TRC rate significantly changed from the previous year.
  • Ten occupations accounted for 33.2 percent of DAFW cases in both 2018 and 2019. Of these, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers had the highest number of cases with 64,160; followed by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers with 47,990.
  • Injuries and illnesses to manufacturing workers resulted in 32,470 DAFW cases of sprains, strains or tears (28.0 percent); 16,790 cases of soreness or pain (14.5 percent); and 15,380 cases involving cuts, lacerations or punctures (13.3 percent).
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had a median number of DAFW of 19 days, down from 23 days in 2018.
  • Light truck drivers had a median of 20 days, an increase of 4 days from 2018.
  • The median days for maintenance and repair workers, general; and laborers and freight, stock, and material movers-hand increased to 12 days in 2019 from 10 days in 2018.
  • Private industry workers age 65 years or over had a median of 16 days away from work due to injuries and illnesses in 2019, compared to 8 days for all private industry workers.
  • Workers with sprains, strains or tears resulting in days away from work visited medical treatment facilities at a rate of 6.5 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2019, down from 7.3 cases in 2018.
  • The DAFW incidence rate for men decreased from 94.3 in 2018 to 91.7 cases in 2019, and the rate for women decreased from 83.4 in 2018 to 80.4 cases per 10,000 FTE workers in 2019.

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