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American Society of Safety Professionals is your source for insights on trends in the safety profession, including developments in safety management, worker safety, government and regulatory affairs and standards.

 

Work-Related Fatalities Up Nearly Six Percent in 2022

Dec 19, 2023
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual census of fatal work injuries for 2022, reporting 5,486 fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2022, a 5.7 percent increase from 5,190 in 2021. The fatal work injury rate was 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from 3.6 per 100,000 FTE in 2021. 
 
BLS highlighted several key findings in this year's report:
  • A worker died every 96 minutes from a work-related injury in 2022 compared to 101 minutes in 2021.
  • Fatalities due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 11.6 percent to 849 in 2022, compared to 761 in 2021. Homicides accounted for 61.7 percent of these fatalities, with 524 deaths, an 8.9 percent increase from 2021.
  • Workers in transportation and material moving occupations experienced 1,620 fatal work injuries in 2022 and represented the occupational group with the most fatalities. The next highest was construction and extraction workers with 1,056 fatalities, an 11 percent increase from 2021. 
  • Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event accounting for 37.7 percent of all occupational fatalities. There were 2,066 fatal injuries from transportation incidents in 2022, a 4.2 percent increase from 1,982 in 2021. 
The agency also noted some factors related to specific worker demographics:
  • The fatal injury rate for Black workers and Hispanic or Latino workers increased, with rates up from 4.0 to 4.2 and 4.5 to 4.6 per 100,000 FTE workers, respectively. The rates for these groups were higher than the all-worker rate of 3.7. 
  • Transportation incidents were the highest cause of fatalities within both groups, with 278 for Black workers and 439 for Hispanic or Latino workers. The second highest cause of fatalities to Black or African American workers was injuries due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals (199), while for Hispanic or Latino workers it was falls, slips or trips (286). 
  • Black or African American fatalities accounted for 13.4 percent (734) of all fatalities in 2022 but represented 33.4 percent (175) of fatalities from homicides. Similarly, women made up 8.1 percent (445) of all workplace fatalities but accounted for 15.3 percent (80) of homicides in 2022.
  • Workers in the 55 to 64 age group continued to have the highest number of fatalities in 2022 with 1,175 (21.4 percent of total fatalities), up from 1,140 in 2021. Transportation incidents were the highest cause of fatalities for this age group (455), followed by falls, slips and trips (251). 
With respect to the fatal events or exposures reported by employers in 2022:
  • Suicides increased 13.1 percent to 267 fatalities in 2022, reversing decreases reported in both 2020 and 2021.
  • Fatalities due to exposure to temperature extremes increased 18.6 percent in 2022, rising to 51 from 43 in 2021. Fatalities specifically due to environmental heat were 43 in 2022, up from 36 in 2021. 
  • Fatalities due to contact with objects and equipment increased 4.7 percent from 705 fatalities in 2021 to 738 in 2022. According to BLS, this is the highest count for this event category since 2018. Machinery was the source of 199 fatalities within this category.
  • Work-related fatalities due to falls, slips and trips increased 1.8 percent in 2022, resulting in 865 fatalities, up from 850 in 2021. Most fatalities in this category (80.9 percent) were due to falls to lower levels, which had 700 fatalities in 2022. This was a 2.9 percent increase from 680 fatalities in 2021, BLS reports.
The agency also identified several of the most at-risk occupations:
  • With a rate of 14.6 fatalities per 100,000 FTE workers, transportation and material moving occupations had the most fatalities in 2022 (1,620), up from 1,523 in 2021. The increase was because fatalities among driver/sales workers and truck drivers increased 8 percent, from 1,032 fatalities in 2021 to 1,115 in 2022.
  • Workers in construction and extraction occupations had the second most fatalities (1,056) in 2022 compared to other occupation groups. Falls, slips or trips were involved in 423 of these fatalities. BLS also noted that the fatality rate for this occupation group increased from 12.3 deaths per 100,000 FTE workers in 2021 to 13 in 2022.
  • Farming, fishing and forestry occupations had the highest fatality rate (23.5 fatalities per 100,000 FTE workers) of all occupational groups in 2022, up from 20 in 2021.

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