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Insights On Workplace Fatalities

workplace fatalities
  • Published
  • 23 April 2024
  • Category
  • General

A U.S. employee dies of a work-related incident or exposure about every 100 minutes. Fatalities still occur despite best efforts to prevent them.

This week, commemorations that are taking place nationwide in anticipation of Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28 remind us that occupational health and safety programs are essential to the well-being of employees, their families and the communities where they live and work. (Refer to this U.S. map for related events.) The value of medical assessments, injury prevention, early incident intervention, regulatory compliance and other safe work practices becomes even more apparent when it is directly associated with reducing fatality rates.

Statistics with Faces

There were 5,486 work-related fatalities recorded in the U.S. in 2022, the most recent reporting year, a 5.7-percent increase compared to 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For every 100,000 full-time workers, there were 3.7 deaths.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s virtual Memorial Wall puts faces on these statistics. One of the first things you’ll notice when you visit the wall, which was developed in collaboration with the United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities, it that a lot more men than women die on the job. In 2022, women made up just 8.1 percent of all workplace fatalities. However, they accounted for 15.3 percent of work-related homicides.

Workers in transportation are particularly vulnerable to accidents, injuries and fatalities. Transportation workers accounted for 37.7 percent of all fatalities in 2022. Employees in transportation and material moving occupations experienced 1,620 fatalities. The next-highest number of deaths occurred among construction and extraction workers.

Fatalities on the job include unintentional overdoses, which increased 13.1 percent to a high of 525 deaths in 2022, up from 464 in 2021, continuing an annual upward trend since 2012. Black, Hispanic and Latino workers experienced a disproportionate number of fatalities, including those involving workplace violence. Meanwhile, as a group, workers aged 55 to 64 had the highest number of fatalities in 2022 (1,175 or 21.4 percent).

What Can You Do?

WorkCare’s mission is “protecting and promoting occupational health…from hire to retire.” Our goal is to enhance employees’ quality of life and, as a result, produce favorable results for their employers. To accomplish this, we take a multi-disciplinary approach – From Safety to Wellness™ – which involves collaboration with our clients and among our occupational clinicians, industry subject matter experts, information technology professionals and operational thought leaders.

It takes a collective effort to prevent work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Conscious awareness of threats to health and safety, such as the nature of the work itself, environmental exposure risks, inattention, fatigue, substance use, production pressure, mental health disorders, inconsistent use of personal protective equipment and many other factors are needed to prevent fatalities on the job. For resources, contact us today.