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Handbook of Methods Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Presentation

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries: Presentation

Summary information including the key fatal injury circumstances (event/exposure, occupation, and industry) and the demographics of workers fatally injured on the job, along with overall counts, are included in a national news release issued annually about a year1 after the end of the reference period. The latest news release for the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) can be found at the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) program homepage. Data are available at the national, state, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) level. More information on the schedule of the data releases can be found on the news release page.

CFOI provides annual fatal injury counts by case circumstances and worker characteristics in a variety of ways. Following is a list of the cross-tabulations that appear on the CFOI homepage and are produced every year.

  • Industry by selected event or exposure
  • Industry by transportation incident and homicide
  • Industry by worker status
  • Primary and secondary source by major private industry division
  • Occupation by event or exposure
  • Occupation by transportation incident and homicide
  • Worker characteristics (worker status, gender, age, race or ethnic origin) by event or exposure
  • Event or exposure by age
  • Event or exposure by major private industry sector

These tables are available at the CFOI homepage for the latest year of data. Also found on the CFOI homepage are the chart package, national fatal injury rates, MSA tables, and special profiles for various topics of interest including homicides and Hispanic or Latino workers. For more information on methodology for calculating rates or a description of the variables collected and coded for CFOI see the calculation section. All of the rates produced by the CFOI program are available online.

Besides national data, state-specific data on workplace fatalities are available from participating state agencies. A list of state agencies along with their telephone numbers is available online or by calling (202) 691-6170. The state page also contains a basic data table for each state as well as state fatal injury rates (for methodology on calculating state rates, please see the calculation section).

Data tools

There are a variety of tools available both online and through special request to aid data users. To accommodate the series breaks in CFOI (See the history section for more information.), the online data tools can be run for the periods 1992–2002, 2003–2010, and 2011 forward individually, but cannot cross over these time periods.

In the CFOI for reference year 2011 forward, it is possible for a total value to be suppressed (meaning not published) for confidentiality purposes while one or more component pieces of the total value are published. In these cases, the total value does not meet CFOI’s publishability criteria and is therefore suppressed, but one or more component pieces do meet the CFOI publishability criteria and are published.

In these cases, the detailed category is composed of cases that are all from public source documents, whereas the higher level, or aggregate category, that is not publishable is made up of cases that are not all from public source documents.

Profiles on the Web

The Profiles on the Web system allows users to create customized tables of the number of work-related fatal injuries based on user-specified criteria. This is a good way to get an overview of the data available in an area of interest, both in magnitude and detail.


There are various ways to retrieve very specific data points on our databases page. There are single and multiscreen data searches, as well as a series report. More information on the way the CFOI data are classified into series identification codes can be found online.

The discontinued data series (resulting from the breaks in series) are at the bottom of the database page.

Flat files

Flat files of data from the entire CFOI database or parts of the database are available through the BLS download server site. Each data series on the BLS download site includes a two-character series designator. Clicking on the series designator expands the directory to provide a list of the files included with each series. Included with each series (generally the last file in each series directory) is a text file that provides: (1) a survey definition and a listing of the FTP files listed in the survey directory; (2) time series, series file, data file, and mapping file definitions and relationships; (3) series, data, and mapping file formats and definitions; and (4) a data element directory. The CFOI series have experienced several breaks due to changes in coding systems. Data from these separate series may not be comparable to one another. The following flat file series identifiers cover available CFOI data reflective of the series breaks (See history section for more.):

            cf —1992–2002 (1987 SIC, BOC)

            fi —2003–2010 (2002 NAICS, 2000 SOC)

            fw—2011 forward (OIICS 2.01)

Special tabulations

In addition to the data available online, some fatality data may be available by the CFOI program directly. Special data queries with multiple cross tabulations are able to be run for multiple or aggregated years (with some limitations). A request can be submitted from the online form.

CFOI microdata/Research file

BLS may approve access to an offsite CFOI microdata research file of individual cases with masked state and personal identifiers. The CFOI research file contains coded information from various sources, compiled into a dataset in which the characteristics for each case included in published CFOI counts has its own row. Some of these data are collected under a pledge of confidentiality and therefore are protected under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA). The CFOI microdata research file is available only to researchers who agree to protect the confidentiality of the data and have the safeguards in place to do so. In addition, proposed projects must have a well-defined research question of scientific merit that is of a purely statistical nature. Final approval for access rests with the BLS Commissioner.

Researchers must submit an application of their proposed research topic and usage of the data. Upon approval, BLS will prepare a letter of agreement, which must be signed by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and an official of the recipient’s organization, such as a president, vice president, provost, director of sponsored research, director of contract and grant administration, or similar official, before release of the CFOI research file. By signing the letter of agreement, the researcher and the researcher’s organization agree to adhere to BLS confidentiality policy as applicable to the CFOI research file. In addition, all individuals who will have access to the CFOI data must sign an agent agreement acknowledging their understanding of BLS confidentiality policy before accessing the CFOI data. Applications can be submitted at any time but are processed twice a year. Deadlines for processing are March 15 and September 15. Applications received after these dates will not be processed until the next application deadline. The application review process takes approximately 8 to 10 weeks.

The application is available by request. The research file coordinator can be reached at, or by calling  202-691-6170. Procedures for obtaining access to the research file can be found online.


Articles and detailed tables containing both national and state data are published regularly in the BLS online publications, Beyond the Numbers (BTN), Monthly Labor Review (MLR), The Economics Daily (TED), and other publications. There are also some articles in the no-longer-published Compensation and Working Conditions that are accessible on the BLS website through the MLR online library.

A list of some of the articles, as well as special compendiums with both SOII and CFOI data, can be found on the IIF publications page.

The IIF program also publishes fact sheets periodically on topics of interest based on national events related to our data. They can be found on the fact sheet homepage.

Data correction

If an error is found in a published CFOI data product (news release, data table, etc.), the product is corrected and republished or incorrect data products are removed. Corrected products will clearly note that a correction was made. A record of the error is added to the list of BLS errata, and data users who have signed up to receive notifications from the IIF program are alerted via email. All relevant documentation is updated, and, if appropriate, new webpages are created to document the error and its correction.

1 Data before 2015 were released twice for each reference year. The first was preliminary data released about 9 months after the reference period, followed by a revised and final release of the data about 16 months after the end of the reference period, or about 7 months after the preliminary data. Beginning with the 2015 reference year, final data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) will be released in December—4 months earlier than in past years.
Last Modified Date: November 03, 2017