Trends in fatal injuries in the workplace, 1992–2011

April 28, 2014

Workers’ Memorial Day, recognized annually on April 28, is dedicated to the memory of workers who were killed, injured, or made ill at work. From 1992 to 2011, a total of 115,091 workers were killed in the United States from injuries incurred while on the job. The annual total of fatal occupational injuries decreased by 25 percent over the 20‑year period.

Fatal occupational injuries, by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 1992–2011

 

Fatal occupational injuries, by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 1992–2011
YearTotalWhite, non-HispanicBlack or African-American, non-HispanicAsian or Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, non-HispanicOther races or not reported, non-HispanicHispanic or Latino

1992

6,2174,711618169186533

1993

6,3314,665649190193634

1994

6,6324,954695179180624

1995

6,2754,599684161212619

1996

6,2024,586615170193638

1997

6,2384,576661195148658

1998

6,0554,478583148139707

1999

6,0544,410616180118730

2000

5,9204,244575185101815

2001

5,9154,17556518298895

2002

5,5343,926491140136841

2003

5,5753,98854315892794

2004

5,7644,06654618070902

2005

5,7343,97758416387923

2006

5,8404,019565159107990

2007

5,6573,86760917272937

2008

5,2143,66353315262804

2009

4,5513,20442114865713

2010

4,6903,36341214959707

2011

4,6933,32344012457749

Note: Data from 2001 exclude fatal work injuries resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks; data from 1995 include fatal work injuries resulting from the Oklahoma City bombing. See National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2001 for a detailed look at fatal work injuries resulting from the September 11 attacks.

 

Annual fatalities ranged from a high of 6,632 in 1994 to a low of 4,551 in 2009. These counts translate to an average of one worker fatality every 79 minutes in 1994, compared with an average of one every 115 minutes in 2009.

Nearly 72 percent of all fatally injured workers from 1992 to 2011 were White, non-Hispanic workers. Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 13 percent of those killed on the job.

While the annual total of fatal occupational injuries has decreased since 1992, the composition of that total has shifted. The most common event leading to a fatal occupational injury in both 1992 and 2011 was a roadway incident. Roadway incidents accounted for 19 percent of all occupational fatalities in 1992 and 24 percent in 2011. Homicides fell as a percentage of all fatalities over the 20‑year span, accounting for 17 percent of all work fatalities in 1992 and 10 percent in 2011. Falls to a lower level increased as a percentage of all fatalities, rising from 8 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2011. Contact with electricity accounted for 5 percent of fatalities in 1992 and 4 percent in 2011.

Percentage of fatal occupational injuries by selected event or exposure, 1992 and 2011

 

Fatal occupational injuries by selected event or exposure, 1992 and 2011
Event or exposureNumberPercent
1992201119922011

Roadway incident

1,1581,10318.623.5

Homicide

1,04446816.810.0

Fall to a lower level

5075538.211.8

Contact with electric current

3341745.43.7

Suicide

2052503.35.3

Drowning

78231.30.5

Note: Data from 1992 and 2011 are not strictly comparable because different classification systems were used in each of those years.

 

These data are from the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program, which publishes annual counts of fatal occupational injuries by demographic and employment characteristics of those killed and selected characteristics of the fatal incident itself. Final counts of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2012 were published on April 24, 2014.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Trends in fatal injuries in the workplace, 1992–2011 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140428.htm (visited September 19, 2014).

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