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Workplace deaths from weather and atmospheric conditions

June 03, 2022

In 2020, 55 fatal work injuries occurred where the primary or secondary source was weather and atmospheric conditions. This was a 29.5-percent decline from 2019 (78 deaths) and the lowest count since 2015 (52 deaths). Most of these deaths have weather and atmospheric conditions as the secondary source. Primary source refers to the object, substance, exposure, or bodily motion responsible for a death. The secondary source refers to the object, substance, or person (if any) that generated the primary source or contributed to the event.

Number of fatal work injuries due to weather and atmospheric conditions, by source classification, all ownerships, 2011–20
Year Total primary and secondary source Primary source Secondary source

2011

104 4 100

2012

65 8 57

2013

92 5 87

2014

84 4 80

2015

52 6 46

2016

67 13 54

2017

61 4 57

2018

75 7 68

2019

78 13 65

2020

55 2 53

Workplace deaths with weather and atmospheric conditions as the primary source of injury dropped 84.6 percent from 2019 (13 deaths) to 2020 (2 deaths). The 2020 count is the lowest over the 2011–20 period. The 2 deaths in 2020 were both due to lightning.

Fatal injuries where weather and atmospheric conditions were the secondary source declined 18.5 percent from 2019 (65 deaths) to 2020 (53 deaths). This was the lowest yearly count since 2015 (46 deaths). In 2020, 41.5 percent (22 deaths) were from “Ice, sleet, or snow.” Another 35.8 percent (19 deaths) were from “High winds, gusts, and turbulence.”

Number of fatal work injuries by selected secondary sources, all ownerships, 2016–20
Secondary source 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

All weather and atmospheric conditions

54 57 68 65 53

High winds, gusts, turbulence

12 14 24 23 19

Ice, sleet, snow

26 27 30 34 22

Rain

11 9 6 6 5

All other sources

5 7 8 2 7

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more, see “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2020.” We also have more charts on fatal work injuries. Explanation of primary and secondary sources can be found in the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification Manual.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Workplace deaths from weather and atmospheric conditions at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/workplace-deaths-from-weather-and-atmospheric-conditions.htm (visited July 05, 2022).

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