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Fatal work injuries among workers age 55 and older

June 02, 2021

There were 2,005 work-related deaths for workers age 55 and older reported in 2019. That was an 8-percent increase from the 1,863 deaths in 2018 and the largest number recorded for this age group. Most fatal injuries result in a same-day death, but some are cases where the death occurs later. These are known as latent cases. For workers age 55 and older, there were 135 latent cases where the death occurred in 2019 but the worker was injured in a previous year.

Fatal work injuries to workers age 55 and older, 1992 to 2019
Year Fatal work injuries

1992

1,234

1993

1,333

1994

1,391

1995

1,342

1996

1,359

1997

1,395

1998

1,377

1999

1,381

2000

1,319

2001

1,305

2002

1,279

2003

1,325

2004

1,476

2005

1,511

2006

1,562

2007

1,508

2008

1,500

2009

1,404

2010

1,530

2011

1,505

2012

1,524

2013

1,490

2014

1,691

2015

1,681

2016

1,848

2017

1,930

2018

1,863

2019

2,005

In 2019, the most common fatal event among workers age 55 and older was transportation incidents (839 deaths). The second most common fatal event for this age group was falls, slips, and trips (459 deaths). These two event categories accounted for about 65 percent of the total number of fatal work injuries in this age group.

Number of fatal work injuries to workers age 55 and older by event or exposure, 2019
Event or exposure Fatal work injuries

Transportation incidents

839

Falls, slips, trips

459

Contact with objects and equipment

281

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

251

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

129

Fires and explosions

33

All other

13

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. For more information on latent cases in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries see “Understanding Latency in Fatal Occupational Injuries.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal work injuries among workers age 55 and older at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/fatal-work-injuries-among-workers-age-55-and-older.htm (visited July 29, 2021).

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