Technical notes

TECHNICAL NOTES

Background of the program
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics (OSHS) 
program, compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. The CFOI 
program uses diverse state, federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work 
injuries. This ensures counts are as complete and accurate as possible. For the 2015 data, over 21,400 unique 
source documents were reviewed as part of the data collection process. For technical information and definitions 
for CFOI, please go to the BLS Handbook of Methods on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch9.pdf.

The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), another component of the OSHS program, presents frequency 
counts and incidence rates by industry and also by detailed case circumstances and worker characteristics for 
nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses for cases that result in days away from work. Incidence rates for 2015 
by industry and case type were published in October 2016, and information on 2015 case circumstances and worker 
characteristics was published in November 2016. For additional data, access the BLS website: www.bls.gov/iif/. 

Identification and verification of work-related fatalities
In 2015, there were 9 cases included for which work relationship could not be independently verified; however, the 
information on the initiating source document for these cases was sufficient to determine that the incident was 
likely to be job-related. Data for these fatalities were included in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries 
(CFOI) counts.

Federal/State agency coverage
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries includes data for all fatal work injuries, whether the decedent was 
working in a job covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or other federal or state 
agencies or was outside the scope of regulatory coverage. Thus, any comparison between the BLS fatality census 
counts and those released by other agencies should take into account the different coverage requirements and 
definitions being used by each agency.

Acknowledgements
BLS thanks the participating states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 
and Guam for their efforts in collecting accurate, comprehensive, and useful data on fatal work injuries. BLS also 
appreciates the efforts of all federal, state, local, and private sector entities that provided source documents 
used to identify fatal work injuries. Among these agencies are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; 
the National Transportation Safety Board; the U.S. Coast Guard; the Mine Safety and Health Administration; the 
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (Federal Employees’ Compensation and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ 
Compensation divisions); the Federal Railroad Administration; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 
state vital statistics registrars, coroners, and medical examiners; state departments of health, labor, and industrial 
relations and workers’ compensation agencies; state and local police departments; and state farm bureaus.

Information in this release is available to sensory-impaired individuals. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal 
Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

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Last Modified Date: December 16, 2016