September 23, 2004
A total of 5,559 fatal work injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2003, a small increase from the revised total of 5,534 fatal work injuries reported for 2002. The rate at which fatal work injuries occurred in 2003 was 4.0 fatalities per 100,000 workers, unchanged from the rate reported for 2002.
Fatal work injuries resulting from highway incidents, falls, and electrocutions were all lower in 2003 than in 2002, while fatal injuries involving homicides, fires and explosions, and being struck by objects increased.
Fatal highway incidents were down in 2003 for the second consecutive year, but continued to account for the highest number of fatal work injuries. The 1,350 fatal highway incidents recorded in 2003 accounted for about one out of every four fatal work injuries.
The number of workplace homicides was higher in 2003—the first increase since 2000. Despite the higher total, the 631 workplace homicides recorded in 2003 represented a 42 percent decline from the high of 1,080 workplace homicides recorded in 1994.
The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, part of the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program, provides the most complete count of fatal work injuries available. BLS originally reported a total of 5,524 fatal work injuries for calendar year 2002. The figure in the chart for 2001 excludes the 2,886 work-related fatalities that resulted from the September 11 terrorist attacks, which were tabulated separately. For more information on fatal work injuries, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2003" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-1830.