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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 2018 data, over 24,800 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. Fatal injury rates are subject 
to sampling errors 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 measurement 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. Counts and incidence rates by industry, case type, case 
circumstances and worker characteristics for 2018 were published in November 2019. For these data, access the BLS website: 
www.bls.gov/iif. 

Identification and verification of work-related fatalities
In 2018, work relationship could not be independently verified by multiple source documents for 12 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. 

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 17, 2019