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Economic News Release
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Technical notes

TECHNICAL NOTES

Background 

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Safety and 
Health Statistics (OSHS) program, is a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. 
The CFOI uses a variety of 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 2019 data, over 25,100 unique 
source documents were reviewed as part of the data collection process. For technical information and definitions for 
the CFOI, see the BLS Handbook of Methods on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cfoi/home.htm and the CFOI 
definitions at www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfdef.htm. Fatal injury rates are subject to sampling error as they are calculated using 
employment data from the Current Population Survey, a sample of households, and the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics. 
For more information on sampling error, see www.bls.gov/iif/osh_rse.htm.

The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), another component of the OSHS program, presents frequency counts 
and incidence rates by industry, detailed case circumstances, and worker characteristics for nonfatal workplace injuries and 
illnesses for cases that result in days away from work. For these data, access the BLS website: www.bls.gov/iif. 

Identification and verification of work-related fatalities
In 2019, work relationship could not be independently verified by multiple source documents for 28 fatal work injuries. 
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 are included.

Federal/State agency coverage
The CFOI includes data for all fatal work injuries, some of which may be outside the scope of other agencies or regulatory 
coverage. Comparisons between CFOI counts and those released by other agencies should account for the different coverage 
requirements and definitions used by each agency. For more information on the scope of CFOI, 
see www.bls.gov/iif/cfoiscope.htm and www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cfoi/concepts.htm. 

CFOI Methodology
Starting with the reference year 2019, CFOI modernized its disclosure methodology further strengthening its protection of 
confidential data. As a result of these necessary protections there are fewer publishable counts in CFOI. Individually 
identifiable data collected by the CFOI are used exclusively for statistical purposes and are protected under the Confidential 
Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA). These data are collected under a pledge of confidentiality 
and therefore require BLS to prevent disclosure of identifying information of decedents. 
For more information see www.bls.gov/iif/oshfaq1.htm.

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. Although data for 
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam are not included in the national totals, results for these jurisdictions 
are available. Participating agencies may be contacted to request more detailed state results. 
Contact information is available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshstate.htm. 

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, 2020