BLS: 5,250 Fatal Injuries on the Job in 2018, Up 2%

By Susan Jones | December 27, 2019 | 8:00am EST
A big rig lies on it's side on Hwy 59 near Edna, Texas (File Photo by DANIEL KRAMER/AFP via Getty Images)
A big rig lies on it's side on Hwy 59 near Edna, Texas (File Photo by DANIEL KRAMER/AFP via Getty Images)

( - A total of 5,250 workers died on the job in this country in 2018, the latest year for which statistics are available, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

That's a two-percent increase from the 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in 2017, but the fatal work injury rate remained the same -- 3.5 for every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

BLS said 40 percent of all work-related fatalities in 2018 (or 2,080) involved transportation incidents or accidents.

Incidents involving contact with machinery/equipment and falling objects, for example, increased 13 percent, to 786 from 695.

But some workplace fatalities are self-inflicted.

Three hundred and five people died in 2018 from unintentional overdoses due to nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol while at work, a significant 12 percent increase from the 272 counted in 2017. That was the sixth consecutive annual increase.

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased to 828 from 807, but BLS said this was due to an 11 percent increase in work-related suicides (304, up from 275).

Fatal falls, slips, and trips decreased 11 percent to 791, after reaching a series high of 887 in 2017.

115 workers died on the job in fires or explosions, down from 123 in 2017.

BLS also tabulates fatalities by occupation:

-- Driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the most fatalities of any broad occupation group.

-- Logging workers, fishermen and related fishing workers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, and roofers all had fatality rates more than 10 times the all-worker rate of 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 FTE workers.

-- Police and sheriff’s patrol officers recorded 108 fatalities in 2018, up 14 percent from 2017.

-- Fatal injuries to taxi drivers and chauffeurs declined by 24 percent to 47, the lowest total since 2003 when comparable data for the occupation first became available.

By industry sector, construction recorded the most fatal work injuries in 2018 (1,008), followed by transportation and warehousing (874); professional and business services (585); agriculture, forestry-fishing and hunting (574);  government (471); manufacturing (343); retail trade (274); leisure and hospitality (253); and wholesale trade (202); and other services (195).


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