Safety and OSHA News

Revised stats: Workplace deaths in U.S. increase

It’s official: More workers died in the U.S. in 2010 than in 2009.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has finalized the 2010 numbers. When it released preliminary report in August 2011, BLS said there had been 4,547 employee fatalities in 2010.

Each year, the preliminary number increases. But the final total for 2010, 4,690, marks a 3% increase over 2009 when 4,551 people were killed on the job.

Despite the increase, the final 2010 total is the second lowest since BLS started compiling its reports in 1992.

The fatality rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in the U.S. rose from 3.5 in 2009 to 3.6 in 2010.

Even when you deduct the Upper Big Branch mine (29 deaths) and BP Deepwater Horizon (11 deaths) disasters, there were still 99 more worker deaths in 2010 than the year before.

Among the changes from the preliminary to final report:

  • Workplace suicides increased by 12 cases in the update, bringing the total to 270, the highest annual total ever reported
  • Highway incidents were higher by 76 cases from the preliminary count, bringing the total to 1.044 cases. The final 2010 highway incident count was 6% higher than the final 2009 number, but it was still the second lowest ever reported.
  • Private construction deaths increased by 23 cases, but the final total was down 7% from 2009. 2010 was the fourth consecutive year that fatal work injuries in construction declined. Decline in the number of construction jobs impacted those numbers.

Here is the breakdown by event or exposure:

  • transportation incidents: 1,857 (39%)
  • assaults and violent acts: 832 (18%)
  • contact with objects and equipment: 738 (16%)
  • falls: 646 (14%)
  • exposure to harmful substances or environments: 414 (9%), and
  • other: 203 (4%).

OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor have been quoting the number of U.S. workers killed on the job each day as 12. With this revision, the average is 12.85.

The breakdown by industry:

  • construction: 774
  • transportation and warehousing: 661
  • agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: 621
  • government: 484
  • professional and business services: 364
  • manufacturing: 329
  • retail trade: 311
  • leisure and hospitality: 238, and
  • wholesale trade: 191.

Texas had the largest number of worker deaths (456). California was second with 302.

What do you make of this increase in worker deaths in the U.S.? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. TedBean says:

    Where’s the number that really counts? How many of those deaths were major contributors to political campaigns?

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