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Workplace Fatalities Highest Since 2008, BLS Says

Dec 05, 2017

Workplace fatalities were the highest since 2008, says BLS’ annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injury report, which was released last month.

Overall, fatal workplace injuries have decreased dramatically compared to the previous decade. Between 2003 and 2008, there were an average 5,630 workplace fatalities, while from 2009 to 2015 an average of 4,686 people died while on the job.

Workplace homicides increased by 2% from 2014 to 2015, with a 15% increase in shootings and a 30% decrease in stabbings.


Transportation-related incidents accounted for the most fatalities, claiming 2,054 of the 4,836 workers who died while on the job in 2015, BLS says. Road fatalities increased by 9% from 2014 to 2015, which according to BLS, consistently account for the greatest share of fatal work-related transportation injuries.


Agricultural occupations had the highest fatality rate, with 22.8 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, the data says.

With a 34.4% decrease from 2014 to 2015, mining fatalities reached its lowest level since 2009, the data says.

Gender Proportions

Men were disproportionately represented in 2015’s work fatalities. According to the data, men recorded 57% of the total hours worked in 2015, yet accounted for 93% of the year’s fatalities.


Men incurred a higher proportion of fatal injuries from falls, slips and trips (17%) and contact with objects and equipment (16%). According to the data, women had a higher proportion of fatal injuries from roadway incidents (31%) and homicides (18%).

Approximately 43% of women fatally assaulted while at work were killed by relatives or partners; for men, the corresponding figure was 2%. Men’s most common homicide assailant during workplace violence was robbers (33%). For women, robbers were the second most common assailant (20%).

Hispanics & Latinos

The 903 deaths among Hispanic and Latino workers were the most since 2007, when 937 fatalities were recorded among this worker population. According to BLS, about two-thirds of those killed were workers born outside of the U.S.

Originally published Jan. 5, 2017.


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