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Fatal Occupational Injuries Rose in 2019, Newly Released Data Shows

Injured Construction Worker On Floor

Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

On December 16, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their final report summarizing the 2019 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. For the second year in a row, the number of fatal work injuries saw a slight increase, up to 5,333 from the 5,250 fatalities in 2018.

Some of the key findings from the latest BLS report include:

  • The number of fatal occupational injuries in 2019 is the highest since 2007, when there were 5,657 fatalities.
  • On average, one worker died from a work-related injury every 99 minutes.
  • Fatalities among Hispanic or Latino workers rose 13% in 2019, reaching its highest number since 1992.
  • The private construction industry also reached a high, rising 5% to mark its largest number of fatalities since 2007.

Digging into the data reveals some positives, such as fatalities due to fires and explosions decreasing nearly 14%, or contact with objects and equipment being down almost 7%.

However, the categories that make up the largest segments of all fatalities only grew. Slips, trips and falls rose more than 11% after seeing a drop of nearly that same amount the year prior. Transportation incidents, which is year-after-year the top category, continued rising further in 2019.

One thing to note is that, while 2019 saw an increase of nearly 1.8 million additional employees, the fatal work injury rate held steady — for the third consecutive year — at 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

Maintaining a consistent rate year after year highlights the importance of safety training. From knowing how to recognize and prevent violence in the workplace to understanding the most common slip, trip and fall dangers, training can help make all employees aware of the correct steps to take to minimize workplace fatalities.

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