Technical notes

TECHNICAL NOTES

Background of the program
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (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 2017 data, 
over 23,400 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/cfoi/home.htm. 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, and the BLS Local Area Unemployment 
Statistics (LAUS) program. For more information on measurement errors, please 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 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 2017 were published in November 2018. For 
additional data, access the BLS website: www.bls.gov/iif. 

Identification and verification of work-related fatalities
In 2017 there were 14 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 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 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 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 18, 2018