Fatal U.S. Work Injuries Increasing

Adam Jacobson


February 3, 2020

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, there were more than 5,250 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2018, up 2% from 2017. Transportation-related incidents made up most of this number, comprising 40% of all fatalities reported, and driver/sales workers and truck drivers experienced the most fatalities of any general occupation group. Several other groups also saw increases in fatal work injuries, including police and sheriff’s patrol officers (14%), non-Hispanic Black or African Americans (16%) and Hispanic or Latino workers (6%). Unintentional non-medical drug or alcohol overdoses also rose 12%, the sixth consecutive year of such increases.

While 20 states and the District of Columbia saw fewer fatal injuries in 2018, 28 saw increases (Arkansas and Oklahoma experienced no change). But the survey included some good news too: Fatal falls, slips and trips decreased 11% from 2017, and fatal injuries to taxi drivers and chauffeurs decreased by 24%, reaching the lowest rate since the bureau began providing comparable information.

Adam Jacobson is associate editor of Risk Management.