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 2016 data, over 
23,300 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 Fatal injury rates are subject to sampling errors as they are calculated 
using employment data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample of households. For more information on 
measurement errors, please see:

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 by 
industry and case type and information on case circumstances and worker characteristics for 2016 were published 
in November 2017. For additional data, access the BLS website: 

Identification and verification of work-related fatalities
In 2016, there were 12 fatal work injuries 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 CFOI counts.

Federal/State agency coverage
The CFOI includes data for all fatal work injuries, even those that may be outside the scope of other agencies or 
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. 
More on the scope of CFOI can be found at 

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 
for this release, results for these jurisdictions are available. Participating agencies may be contacted to 
request more detailed state results. Contact information is available at

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 19, 2017