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A look at work injuries, illnesses, and fatalities on Workers' Memorial Day

April 28, 2020

April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to commemorate people who die, become disabled, or are injured on the job. In 2018, 5,250 workers in the United States suffered fatal work injuries. That was a 2-percent increase from 2017 and was the highest number of fatal work injuries in a decade. Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event. In 2018, there were 2,080 such fatalities, accounting for 40 percent of all work-related deaths.

Number of fatal work injuries by event or exposure, 2017 and 2018
Event or exposure 2017 2018

Transportation incidents

2,077 2,080

Falls, slips, trips

887 791

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

807 828

Contact with objects and equipment

695 786

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

531 621

Fires and explosions

123 115

The largest decrease in fatal injuries in 2018 was from falls, slips, and trips, with 96 fewer cases than in 2017. The largest increase in 2018 was from contact with objects and equipment, with 91 more cases than in 2017. Fatal injuries in 2018 resulting from exposure to harmful substances or environments increased by 90 cases from 2017.

There were also 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. Overexertion and bodily reaction resulted in 282,860 nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work in private industry during 2018. That was 31 percent of the total.

Number of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by event or exposure, 2017 and 2018
Event or exposure 2017 2018

Overexertion and bodily reaction

295,830 282,860

Falls, slips, trips

227,760 240,160

Contact with objects and equipment

229,170 235,740

Transportation incidents

47,910 50,650

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

39,750 44,000

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

37,110 40,130

Fires and explosions

1,470 1,480

Another 27 percent of cases resulted from falls, slips, and trips. Twenty-six percent resulted from contact with objects and equipment. Transportation incidents represented 6 percent of nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in private industry during 2018.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2018" and "Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses — 2018." More charts are available on fatal work injuries and nonfatal injuries and illnesses.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at work injuries, illnesses, and fatalities on Workers' Memorial Day on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/a-look-at-work-injuries-illnesses-and-fatalities-on-workers-memorial-day.htm (visited August 09, 2020).

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