Workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by occupation

April 28, 2017

Workers' Memorial Day, observed each year on April 28, honors workers killed, injured, or made ill at work. Since 1992, BLS has collected detailed data on both nonfatal work injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work and fatal work injuries. 

Occupations with high numbers of nonfatal injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, 2015
Occupation Number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses

Laborers, freight, stock, and material movers

59,010

Overexertion and bodily reaction

22,850

Contact with objects and equipment

20,400

Falls, slips, trips

11,060

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

49,260

Falls, slips, trips

16,200

Overexertion and bodily reaction

15,530

Transportation incidents

7,700

Janitors and cleaners

42,740

Overexertion and bodily reaction

16,480

Falls, slips, trips

12,300

Contact with objects and equipment

9,550

Nursing assistants

37,370

Overexertion and bodily reaction

19,970

Falls, slips, trips

6,930

Violence and other injuries by persons or animal

6,040

Maintenance and repair workers, general

30,020

Overexertion and bodily reaction

10,600

Contact with objects and equipment

8,590

Falls, slips, trips

7,960

The occupations with the highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses for all ownerships in 2015 were laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (59,010 nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work); heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (49,260); janitors and cleaners (42,740); nursing assistants (37,370), and maintenance and repair workers (30,020).

Occupations with high numbers of fatal injuries, 2015
Occupation Fatal injuries

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

745

Transportation incidents

613

Contact with objects and equipment

60

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

26

Farmers ranchers and other agricultural managers

252

Transportation incidents

121

Contact with objects and equipment

72

Falls, slips, trips

23

Construction laborers

235

Falls, slips, trips

90

Contact with objects and equipment

66

Transportation incidents

51

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

123

Falls, slips, trips

36

Transportation incidents

35

Contact with objects and equipment

30

Landscaping and groundskeeping workers

111

Transportation incidents

47

Falls, slips, trips

22

Contact with objects and equipment

15

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

15

The occupations with the largest number of fatal work injuries in 2015 were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (745 fatal injuries); farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers (252); construction laborers (235); first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers (123); and landscaping and grounds keeping workers (111).

Fatal injuries and nonfatal injuries and illnesses differ significantly within the same occupation, both in numbers and in the event associated with the incident. Some occupations had high numbers of nonfatal injuries but few fatal injuries. Janitors and cleaners had the third highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2015, at 42,740, versus 38 fatal injuries. Nursing assistants had the fourth highest number, with 37,370 nonfatal injuries and illnesses, compared to 4 fatal injuries.

You can learn more about Workers' Memorial Day from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Data are from the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2015" (HTML) (PDF) and "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015" (HTML) (PDF).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by occupation on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/workplace-injuries-illnesses-and-fatalities-by-occupation.htm (visited April 23, 2018).

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