Safety and OSHA News

Workplace fatalities increase for these 2 types of events

The federal government has released its revised, final number of workplace fatalities in the U.S. for 2013. The overall number is down from the previous year, but not by much. 

The final count of workplace fatalities in 2013 was 4,584, a decrease of 43 (or 0.93%) from 4,628 in 2012. The preliminary 2013 count had been 4,405. Washington, DC, and 34 states revised their counts upward from the preliminary count.

This follows a trend evident since 2009: The rate has been fairly stable since that year. The number of fatalities had been on a steady decline from 2006 to 2009, with the numbers trending: 5,840, 5,657, 5,214 and 4,551.

In fact, fewer workers died on the job in 2009 (4,551) than in 2013 (4,584). The number increased to almost 4,700 in 2010 and has decreased only slightly since then.

The fatality rate per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2013 was 3.3. The rate had been in the range from 3.4 to 3.6 from 2009 to 2012. The fatality rate fell below 4.0 in 2008 when it was 3.7.

More workers died in 2013 compared to the previous year because of two types of events: slips, trips and falls; and fires and explosions.

The breakdown of cause by event for 2013 was:

  • transportation incidents: 41%
  • violence and other injuries by persons or animals: 17%
  • contact with objects and equipment: 16%
  • slips, trips and falls: 16%
  • exposure to harmful substances or environments: 7%, and
  • fire and explosions: 3%.

Further breaking down the transportation category:

  • roadway collision with another vehicle: 30%
  • other roadway incidents: 29%
  • pedestrian/vehicular incidents: 16%
  • nonroadway incidents: 12%
  • aircraft incidents: 7%
  • water vehicle incidents: 3%
  • rail vehicle incidents: 2%, and
  • other: 1%.

Older workers, particularly those over age 55, had higher fatality rates. The breakdown by age (rate per 100,000 FTE workers):

  • 18-19: 2.6
  • 20-24: 2.2
  • 25-34: 2.5
  • 35-44: 2.8
  • 45-54: 3.4
  • 55-64: 4.1, and
  • 65+: 9.2.

Some other statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on workplace fatalities in 2013:

  • Construction saw 32 more fatalities in 2013 compared to 2012, a 3% increase and the largest number since 2009.
  • The number of work fatalities involving Hispanic or Latino workers rose 9% compared to 2012.
  • Roadway deaths decreased 5% from the final 2012 count.
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