4,836 fatal work injuries in the United States during 2015

December 21, 2016

A total of 4,836 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2015, a slight increase from the 4,821 fatal injuries reported in 2014. There were 2,054 fatal work injuries involving transportation incidents, an increase from the previous year.

Fatal occupational injuries for selected events or exposures, 2011–15
Event or exposure 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Total

4,693 4,628 4,585 4,821 4,836

Fire or explosion

144 122 149 137 121

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

419 340 335 390 424

Contact with objects and equipment

710 723 721 715 722

Fall, slip, trip

681 704 724 818 800

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

791 803 773 765 703

Transportation incidents

1,937 1,923 1,865 1,984 2,054

Within the transportation category, roadway incidents increased in 2015. Roadway incidents accounted for 26 percent of all fatal work injuries. Almost half of these fatalities involved some kind of tractor-trailer truck. Fatal injuries involving pedestrians were lower in 2015, as were rail and water vehicle incidents.

There were 800 work fatalities due to falls, slips or trips in 2015. Falls to a lower level accounted for 81 percent of all fatal falls. Of those cases in which the height of the fall was known, more than two-fifths of fatal falls occurred from 15 feet or lower.

Contact with objects and equipment accounted for 722 work fatalities. Workers were fatally struck by an object or equipment 519 times in 2015. Workers were most frequently struck by plants, trees, and vegetation; highway vehicles; and construction, logging, and mining machinery.

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals resulted in 703 fatal injuries in 2015, down 8 percent from the 2014 total. The number of work-related suicides dropped in 2015. Workplace homicides rose by 2 percent.

Exposure to harmful substances or environments caused 424 work fatalities in 2015. Fatal exposures to electricity were down in 2015, but fatalities due to exposure to temperature extremes rose. Workplace deaths due to nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol increased in 2015.

These data are from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which is part of the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015" (HTML) (PDF).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 4,836 fatal work injuries in the United States during 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/4836-fatal-work-injuries-in-the-united-states-during-2015.htm (visited October 18, 2017).

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