BLS Issues Bad News: Workplace Fatalities Increased in 2014

September 23, 2015 Dave Anderson

death or serious injury will result
Preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a total of 4,679 workers died on the job in 2014, an increase of 2 percent over the revised count of 4,585 fatal work injuries in 2013. The preliminary rate of fatal work injury in the U.S. in 2014 was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers; the revised rate for 2013 was also 3.3.

Mining, construction, manufacturing, law enforcement and agriculture experienced significant increases in fatal injuries in 2014. Fatal falls, slips, and trips rose by 10 percent from the previous year. Transportation-related fatalities also increased slightly. Construction deaths rose by 6 percent to 874.

Key Findings

  • The number of fatal work injuries in private goods-producing industries in 2014 was 9 percent higher than the revised 2013 count but slightly lower in private service-providing industries.
  • Fatal injuries were higher in mining (up 17 percent), agriculture (up 14 percent), manufacturing (up 9 percent), and construction (up 6 percent). Fatal work injuries for government workers were lower (down 12 percent).
  • Falls, slips, and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013. This was driven largely by an increase in falls to a lower level to 647 in 2014 from 595 in 2013.



Worker characteristics

  • Fatal work injuries involving workers age 45 to 54 years, 55 to 64 years, and 65 years of age and over all increased in 2014 compared to 2013 totals. The number of workers 55 years and over who were fatally injured in 2014 increased 9 percent to 1,621, the highest annual total since the inception of the fatality census in 1992.
  • Fatal injuries among women rose 13 percent in 2014 to 359 from 319 in 2013. Fatal work injuries among men in 2014 were slightly higher than the previous year. Consistent with previous years, men accounted for 92 percent of all fatal occupational injuries.
  • Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers fell 3 percent to 789 in 2014, compared to 817 in 2013. Fatal work injuries were higher among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black or African-American, and non-Hispanic Asian workers.

Type of incident

  • In 2014, fatal work injuries due to transportation incidents were slightly higher – 1,891, up from 1,865 in 2013. Overall, transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of fatal workplace injuries in 2014. Roadway incidents constituted 57 percent of the fatal work injury total in 2014.
  • Fatal falls, slips, and trips were up 10 percent in 2014 from the previous year. Falls to lower level were up 9 percent to 647 from 595 in 2013, and falls on the same level increased 17 percent.
  • Work-related injury deaths due to contact with objects and equipment were down slightly from the revised 2013 number (721 to 708). The largest proportion of fatal injuries in this category (34 percent) occurred when workers were struck by falling objects or equipment.


Occupation

  • Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for the largest share (28%) of fatal occupational injuries of any occupation group. 
  • Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations increased 5 percent (40 cases) in 2014 to 885. This is the highest total for this occupation group since 2008.
  • Fatalities among farming, fishing, and forestry occupations rose 9 percent to 253 in 2014. The increase was led by fatalities involving agricultural workers (up 12 percent to 143) and fatalities involving logging workers (up 31 percent to 77).


Industry

  • In the private sector, a total of 4,251 fatal work injuries were recorded in 2014, 4 percent higher than the revised total of 4,101 in 2013. 
  • Goods-producing industries were up 9 percent in 2014. Totals were higher for private mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (up 17 percent); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (up 14 percent); manufacturing (up 9 percent); and construction (up 6 percent).
  • Service-providing industries in the private sector decreased slightly from 2013. Fatal work injuries in transportation and warehousing accounted for 735 fatal work injuries in 2014, almost unchanged from the revised 2013 count of 733 fatalities. Financial activities rose 31 percent, while wholesale trade fell 11 percent.

Revised 2014 data will be released in the late spring of 2016. Over the last 5 years, net increases to the preliminary count have averaged 173 cases, ranging from a low of 84 in 2011 (up 2 percent) to a high of 245 in 2012 (up 6 percent).



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