Safety and OSHA News

Top 10 causes of accidental death

Preventable deaths now claim 466 lives per day in the U.S., according to recently updated statistics. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the number of deaths from unintentional, preventable injuries – aka accidents – rose 5.3% between 2016 and 2017.

Preventable deaths in one year have now reached their highest number in recorded U.S. history: 169,936 in 2017.

Of the three leading causes of death, preventable injuries was the only category to increase, largely because of the opioid crisis. An American is killed about every three minutes by a drug overdose, a motor vehicle crash, a fall, a drowning, a choking incident or another preventable incident.

Here are the top 10 causes of preventable deaths, the number that occurred in 2017 and the percent change from 2016:

  1. Poisoning (including drug overdose): 64,795, +11.1%
  2. Motor vehicle: 40,231, -0.2%
  3. Falls: 36,338, +4.8%
  4. Suffocation by ingestion, inhalation: 5,216, +8%
  5. Drowning: 3,709, -2%
  6. Fires, flames, smoke: 2,812, +3%
  7. Mechanical suffocation: 1,730, -2.9%
  8. Natural heat, cold: 1,269, +6.7%
  9. Struck by, against: 806, +2%, and
  10. Machinery: 572, -6.2%.

In response to the CDC report, the National Safety Council says there is no such thing as an accident. The NSC says we know what to do so save lives, but as a nation, we haven’t consistently prioritized safety at work, home and on the road.

Life expectancy declines

Another CDC statistics shows life expectancy in the U.S. declined in 2017, marking three consecutive years in which the number either stayed the same or declined. That’s the longest period of decline since the late 1910s, when a flu pandemic and World War I drove the number down, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Deaths by drug overdose and suicide are behind the current trend.

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