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Fatal work injuries down slightly in 2017

April 26, 2019

Every April 28 marks Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to commemorate people killed, disabled, or injured on the job. In 2017, 5,147 workers in the United States suffered fatal occupational injuries. While this represents a 1-percent decrease from 2016, the 2017 total was the second highest count of fatal work injuries since 2008.

Number of fatal occupational injuries by event or exposure, 2016 and 2017
Event or exposure 2016 2017

Transportation incidents

2,083 2,077

Falls, slips, trips

849 887

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

866 807

Contact with objects and equipment

761 695

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

518 531

Fires and explosions

88 123

The largest decrease in fatal injuries in 2017 resulted from contact with objects and equipment, a decrease of 66 cases from 2016. There were also 59 fewer fatal work injuries due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals. The largest increase in 2017 was injuries resulting from falls, slips, and trips, with 38 more cases than in 2016. Fatal work injuries from transportation incidents represented 40 percent of total cases.

A greater number of fatal injuries resulted from transportation incidents than other types of events or exposures in both 2016 and 2017. Transportation incidents represented only 6 percent of nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, however.

Overexertion and bodily reaction, with 362,580 cases, represented 33 percent of the nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work in 2017. Twenty-six percent of injuries and illnesses resulted from falls, slips, and trips; and another 24 percent from contact with objects and equipment.

Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by event or exposure, 2017
Event or exposure 2017

Overexertion and bodily reaction

362,580

Falls, slips, trips

290,660

Contact with objects and equipment

261,900

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

79,900

Transportation incidents

61,530

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

45,050

Fires and explosions

3,120

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses — 2017" and "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017." We also have more charts on fatal work injuries.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal work injuries down slightly in 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/fatal-work-injuries-down-slightly-in-2017.htm (visited November 13, 2019).

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