The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that unfortunately, workplace fatalities rose again in 2016, marking three years in a row that fatalities have increased. In 2016 there were 5,190 fatal workplace injuries, the highest level since 2010 and the first time that the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries recorded fatalities over 5,000 since 2008.
This is a seven percent increase from 2015 when there were a reported 4,836 fatalities. In 2016 the fatal injury rate was 3.6 per 100,000 workers. The most common reason for workplace fatalities were transportation incidents, making up 40 percent of the total (2,083 workers). The second most common reason for workplace fatalities was violence and other injuries by people or animals, increasing from the previous year and making up 23 percent (866 workers). Unfortunately 2016 recorded the highest homicide figure since 2010 and the highest suicide figure since the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries began in 1992. Fatal work injuries stemming from falls, slips or trips have increased every year since 2011, and rose six percent from 2015 to 2016.
Overdoses from non-medical use of drugs or alcohol on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, a 32 percent increase. Since 2012 overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25 percent each year.
In terms of occupations, transportation and material moving workers suffered the most fatal workplace injuries. Occupations with increases in workplace fatalities greater than 10 percent were food preparation and serving occupations, installation, maintenance and repair occupations, building and grounds cleaning occupations and maintenance occupations and sales occupations. Those with decreases greater than 10 percent were healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, military occupations and production occupations.
Logging workers recorded a fatal work injury rate of 135.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The rate of fatal work injuries for workers 65 years or older was 9.6 per 100,000 full-time employees, over three times higher than the average rate for all workers.
Read the news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics here.