Decline in Fatal Work Injuries

January 21, 2019

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Summary for 2017, which shows that there was a slight decline in fatal work injuries from the previous year: There was a total of 5,147 work injuries recorded in 2017, as compared to 5,100 in 2016.

However, not all types of fatal injuries decreased; some remained as common as they were in previous years and some industries even experienced an increase in work-related deaths.

Types of Fatal Work Injuries

  • Confined spaces: According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), many workers do not prepare for the hazards of working in confined spaces, and many are injured when emergency personnel cannot gain access to them if they become trapped. There were 166 fatalities involving confined spaces in 2017, a 15 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Contact with objects and equipment: Being struck by an object or caught in/between objects are two of the four leading causes of death in the construction These types of accidents were down in 2017 – nine percent and 26 percent respectively.
  • Crane-related incidents: The BLS reports that 14 percent of workplace deaths are caused by machine accidents. In 2017, there were 33 workplace fatalities involving cranes – the lowest ever recorded by the CFOI.
  • Falls: According to NIOSH, falls have consistently been a leading cause of work-related injuries and deaths for more than 11 years. In 2017, falls reached their highest level in 26 years, accounting for 887 worker fatalities.
  • Transportation: Transportation incidents remained the most frequent fatal event, with 2,077 occupational fatalities in 2017. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 3,684 fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2016.
  • Unintentional overdose: Workplace overdose deaths have been steadily increasing, by at least 25 percent, since 2010. Nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol in the workplace led to 272 deaths, up 25 percent from 2016.
  • Violence: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nearly two million workers are the victim of workplace violence each year. Fatal work injuries from workplace violence decreased seven percent in 2017.

High Fatality Industries

The transportation and construction industries generally had the largest number of fatal occupational injuries, together accounting for 47 percent of worker deaths in 2017. The number of grounds maintenance worker fatalities decreased slightly from the previous year, with a total of 258 work-related deaths. Another industry that experienced a decrease in fatal work injuries was law enforcement – fatalities among police and sheriff’s patrol officers decreased from 108 fatalities in 2016 to 95 in 2017.

Other CFOI Findings

In 2017, 15 percent of fatally injured workers were age 65 or older –a seven percent increase since 1992, when the first CFOI was published, and the highest it has ever been.

Fishing workers had the highest rate of fatal injuries; whereas workplace fatalities in the private manufacturing, wholesale trade, private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries declined.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Surviving Family Members Obtain Death Benefits

If your loved one suffered a fatal work injury, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled, such as death benefits, to compensate for the loss of financial support. To schedule a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.

Our skilled attorneys have represented all types of workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.